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Contractors compete to build new and replacement schools
Contractors compete to build new and replacement schools
Posted on 02/27/2018
Contractors compete to build new and replacement schools

The community will soon begin to see a growing list of exciting construction projects taking place around the district.

Thanks to the voter approved  $292.5 million 2015 School Construction and Facility Improvements bond, a new elementary, replacement schools for Firgrove, Northwood, and Sunrise, a Pope remodel, and a 12 classroom addition at Hunt are in the works.

Due to recent growth throughout the district these projects are needed to provide permanent classroom capacity for the estimated 1,600 additional elementary students coming to Puyallup over a five year span. They will reduce the number of portables significantly. The long-term vision of the school board was considered in developing the educational specifications to meet current and projected essential education needs in a changing technological world. Building improvements will include dedicated project spaces, upgraded technology to enhance student achievement, well designed preschool classrooms, cafeteria spaces so students will not be required to eat in their classroom, and controlled entry vestibules to improve safety.

Behind the scenes work has been ongoing since the bond was passed in November 2015. Architects were chosen, a Bond Advisory Committee was formed, Educational Specifications were developed and approved by the Puyallup School Board, and Design Advisory Teams were formed to work alongside the architects to identify site specific requirements for the new buildings.

Currently, the large construction projects are using public bids to determine the general contractor who will do the work. Public bidding assumes that open, competitive bidding for construction contracts will ensure fairness at the best price. The procedures are designed to award a contract to the lowest responsible bidder.

In addition to the price the “lowest responsible bidder" considers: the capacity and skill of the bidder, their reputation and experience, their ability to perform on schedule, and the quality of their work on previous projects.

  • Northwood Elementary bids opened on December 6, 2017;
  • The new elementary bids opened on February 13, 2018;
  • Firgrove Elementary bids opened on February 27, 2018;
  • Sunrise Elementary is scheduled for bid opening on April 5, 2018;
  • Pope Elementary will bid in early 2019 (TBD).
  • Hunt Elementary bid in May 2017 and is on schedule to be completed in May 2018.

The bidding process must follow certain State laws. It’s designed prevent collusion or favoritism and to ensure the best work at the lowest price. Providing a good set of drawings and specifications is critical to the bid. These bid documents define the work to be performed and allow the bids to be compared on an equal basis.

The Bid Process

Three general steps are required in the bidding process:

1. An invitation for bids is publicized and the bid documents are provided to contractors.

2. The bids are received from prospective contractors. The bid is their offer to enter into a contract with the school district to perform as specified in the bid documents.

3. The bids are reviewed by the project team. A recommendation is made to the school board and they formally accept the bid. This acceptance allows the district to sign the contract and issue a “Notice to Proceed” with the work.

"The three projects that have bid to date, Hunt, Northwood, and the new elementary, have come in substantially under the estimated costs in a very busy construction market. We believe this reflects a good set of construction documents, positive response to marketing efforts and a desire by construction companies to work in Puyallup School District," said Executive Director of Capital Projects Gary Frentress.

The recently completed addition at Shaw Road Elementary was built with non-bond funds but used a similar bid process and was finished well under the budget.

Once the bid process is complete and accepted by the school board a formal groundbreaking ceremony will be held on site. The contractor will begin construction about the same time. More information and updates on these projects can be found on the Foundations For Our Future website. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled at Northwood Elementary on March 2, 2018.