R.E. Smith to build Purdy FEMA shelter

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Contract awarded by district for $4.02 million

General contractor R.E. Smith has won the contract for building the new FEMA storm shelter and performing arts center for the Purdy school district.

Four major contractors in the area submitted bids after six contractors asked for the bid package. Of those, R.E. Smith submitted the low base bid and was the only contractor to bid on all of the eight proposed alternates.

Architect Kirsten Whitehead, project manager with Paragon Architecture in Springfield, said she could recommend all of the bidders. All used the same local subcontractors, so she felt the quality of work would be equal with any of the firms. She projected finished costs, including furniture, cabling and audio-visual equipment for the performing arts center, at $4.9 million.

For construction, R.E. Smith bid $4,021,500. Branco Enterprises bid $4,159,000. Bales Construction, which built the district's new high school gym entrance, cafeteria extension and bathrooms, bid $4,228,000. Crossland Construction bid $4,267,000.

The district also asked for eight alternates. Board members decided against accepting bids for sod work around the site, a task district employees could handle. R.E. Smith was the only bidder to offer a price for the fire pump and required accessories, equipment to boost water pressure for future use.

"[The new building] is designed so as to allow for classroom expansions in the future, and by adding additional rooms, the water pressure would not be sufficient," Superintendent Stephen Chancellor said. "Adding a pump would also require an upgrade in generator and remodeling the structure surrounding it. Doing it now plans for future expansion at a much lower cost than remodeling it later."

Other alternates covered finishes on wall and counter surfaces, casework in the lobby and a plumbing rough-in in the storage area behind the stage for future construction.

R.E. Smith bid $143,900 for the alternates. Without the fire pump, Branco bid $102,300, Bales bid $97,780 and Crossland bid $113,300.

Because R.E. Smith has crews in Monett at the present time working on the new aquatic center at the Monett Area YMCA, the company said it would need only 10 days to organize, then take 310 for construction. Branco said it needed 20 days to organize. Crossland asked for 30. Both said they could finish in 270 days. Bales simply quoted 330 days to finish.

Board members were pleased with the bids, which appeared below the architect's estimates. Whitehead, having added $150,000 in owner's contingencies to her projections, said it was likely the final cost should come in at $4.8 million.

R.E. Smith built FEMA shelters in both Monett and Cassville. Board members awarded the contract to that firm for both the base and the alternates.

"I was thrilled to get bids from four top-rated companies," Chancellor said. "The fact they were all so close tells me there were all highly interested in working for the school district. I would like to thank Paragon Architecture for working so hard to put together a quality bid package and assisting with the evaluation processes. We felt going into the bid opening we had solid data in terms of our estimates, but obviously the board is happy with R.E. Smith’s bid coming in lower than projected.

"In the coming days, I will be looking forward to our pre-construction meetings, meeting our site foreman and beginning the project. It feels as though momentum is on our side with a great start to the school year, relocating our preschool and now this milestone. We submitted our original application for a safe room in late 2012, I will be looking forward to exhaling when materials and equipment begin arriving."

No start date was set for the project.

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