Socorro Consolidated school board approved a contract to be awarded to Bradbury Stamm Construction for the construction of the new middle school building next to the high school at a special meeting Nov.2.
Before the discussion, Rhiannon Crespin, executive director of finance, said that the school issued an RFP and received only one bid. In response, the Public Schools Facilities Authority said that receiving one bid was normal across the state right now.
According to Crespin, about two to three years ago when they started the process the school estimated that the building would cost $14 to $17 million, but now the bid came in at $26,125,000. The school had set aside$ 5.8 million dollars for their portion of the cost, which is about 27% based on their rating with PSFA. She said PSFA, upon approval, could help cover the gap.
“They (PSFA) have agreed to support us in our request to cover the additional $1,515,000 in cost, so we pay the $5.8 million,” Crespin said.
A representative of the Bradbury Stamm Construction, Lawrence Peterson, was present at the meeting so school board members could ask questions.
School board Vice-President, Pauline Jaramillo asked Peterson if he could provide examples of other schools the company had built. Peterson told the board that the company has been around for one hundred years, and they are known for building schools around the state. Among the schools he mentioned were Red Rock Elementary school in Gallup, Southern Heights Elementary school in Hobbs and Truman Middle school in Albuquerque.
Pauline Jaramillo asked him several questions about how the company was going to manage the timeline, quality control, project delays and change orders. Peterson said they have very stringent processes, and the school will have access to a project manager that would be available to make sure there is communication.
“Just to be frank with you guys, because I know it’s the best way to be, lead times are a big challenge for us right now in our business.” Peterson said.
He explained that getting materials is taking longer than it did before COVID, especially for items made in other countries. He also spoke about the nationwide shortage of labor and rise of labor costs.
“We will have a weekly or bi-weekly owner meeting with the appropriate representatives from the school district and quality control is one of the items we talk about, every single meeting
with our clients,” Peterson said. “If there is a change first and foremost we want to try and discuss it early on in the process, because I think we all know that if you delay the conversation about, if it’s time or it’s money, that conversation gets harder and harder, the biggest thing about those two items is you got to have those conversations as soon as you know there’s an issue.”
The proposal timeline of the construction was about 18 months, starting in January and completing in May 2025.
Tara Jaramillo, school board member, commented that building costs have increased over 400% and the school is looking at $570 per square foot for the construction of the middle school. School Board President, David Hicks, agreed that prices were high and compared it to another project at New Mexico Tech.
The board also discussed the impact of traffic near the high school, the Highway 60 project and options for parking space and traffic flow. At the end of the discussion all board members voted in favor of approving the contract.
In other business, after clarifications about the MOU and earlier MOUs with the City of Socorro, the school board approved the disposition of a portable building valued at $60,000 to the City of Socorro.