Subcontractors Meet in Advance of May School Construction
Lake City Community School was unusually tranquil — not a single rambunctious student or stern-eyed instructor in sight — for an important meeting which took place in the school’s commons area late Monday morning this week.
Monday’s 11 a.m. school gathering was a subcontractor’s pre-bid meeting coordinated by the school’s General Contractor, Durango, Colorado-based FCI Constructors, Inc. The meeting was headed by FCI Project Manager Cullen Zion and David Pribble, the latter of whom will serve as Superintendent on the major expansion of the community school building which starts with site preparation the week of Monday, May 6.
Pribble’s Assistant Superintendent will be FCI Project Engineer Jacob Cannell.
As extensively reported, the impending Hinsdale County School District project entails rehabilitation of the existing 13,800-s.f. Lake City Community School which will increase to 33,255-s.f. with a new addition, including 6,950-s.f. gymnasium.
The anticipated $13.4-million project is funded with a $9.4-million Colorado Department of Education BEST grant which the school district was awarded, together with up to $3.9-million in local bonds approved by school district voters in November last year.
Construction cost is budgeted at $11.2-million. Depending on cumulative bids which are received from subcontractors, a number of “alternates” may or may not be added to the project, including a photo voltaic solar array on the building’s roof which,
if installed, could materially assist in lowering the building’s energy costs. In addition to the $11.2-
million budgeted for construction costs, other costs built into the project include design services, permitting, utilities, quality assurance, inspections, surveys, abatement, moving, general conditions, technology overhaul, appropriate contingencies, and management fees.
According to school board president Phil Virden, the overall project cost will be covered by the BEST grant, the recently-passed school bond, and several additional grants which the district has secured.
FCI Constructors was competitively selected last fall as General Contractor to oversee the project, including compiling all the bids and insuring there aren’t any gaps, after which a list of subcontractors will be compiled and presented to the school board for final review and approval.
Colorado Springs-based RTA Architects and its spokesperson, Brian Calhoun, have been a frequent presence at meetings between school staff, school directors and the public dating back to 2017. RTA completed the voluminous final design plans late last month.
Also assisting in administrative aspects of the school project is the firm NV5 which serves as the school district’s Owner Representative. NV5 assists the district on a wide scope of services, managing the project from design through construction, including schedule and budget management.
Outside the school building for Monday’s subcontractors’ meeting this week was a fleet of FCI Constructors’ white pickups, each emblazoned with the firm’s motto, “Focused on Your Vision.” Inside, the focus was on the start of the construction project which, according to Project Superintendent Pribble, will be intense with emphasis on excavation and construction of the new portion of the school building late this spring and into summer, fall and winter, 2019-20.
A major rehab of the existing school building won’t take place until summer, 2020, in advance of project culmination in time for the start of classes at the beginning of the 2010-21 school year.
Referencing the impending work schedule which starts next month, Pribble told congregated subcontractors, “we’ll be running hard.”
As briefly explained, “bids are being sought for the renovation and addition to an approximate 14,000-square foot Kindergarten through 12th Grade education building, including site work, roof replacement, finish upgrades, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing upgrades.”
“The project also includes building additions for new administrative offices, a gymnasium, and classrooms. Total gross area is approximately 33,484-square feet. The renovation will not change the occupancy of existing spaces.”
Bid documents exist in electronic format, although one full-size hard copy of the documents is available for inspection at Blue Spruce Building Materials.
Work will commence on a five-days per week basis, with some weekend work possible, upwards of 20 to 30 workmen on site on a daily basis this summer and increasing to perhaps 40 and up to 60 workers daily during the final push in summer, 2020. Pribble alluded to the fact that classes at Lake City Community School are scheduled on a Tuesday through Friday schedule, indicating that work will perhaps intensify when the school building is empty on Mondays during the remainder of the present school year and almost certainly on Mondays when the 2019-20 school year commences starting this fall.
FCI’s Pribble is well-known in Gunnison after spending the past year and a half there serving as superintendent on the just-finished senior care center.
According to FCI’s Cullen Zion, literally hundreds of invitations to bid on all phases of the impending project were sent out in advance of the Monday, April 1, subcontractors’ pre-bid meeting in Lake City.
“Ideally,” Zion explains, “we want to see a minimum of three bids on each scope of work.” He further explains that typically eight to ten bids may be received on scopes of work which are identified as dirt work, concrete, framing, roofing, dry wall, electric, and mechanical/plumbing. Areas of finish scope on the building will include painting, tile, flooring, gymnasium flooring, and specialty contractors.
While pre-bid invitations were mailed to many firms, only nine potential subcontractors attended Monday’s meeting, the sole local representatives being Doug Hamel and Greg Collins for Blue Spruce Lumber, and Stan Whinnery of Whinnery Construction.
FCI Estimator Boden Abbott reiterated that the Durango firm, as General Contractor, will field questions on specific aspects of the project through April 11; an addendum to the construction plans is anticipated to be released on Monday, April 15, and Wednesday, April 17, is the deadline for potential subcontractors to submit their bids.
Subcontractors were advised on a total of 11 alternates which they should consider in their bids, these including the possible addition of a photo voltaic array, theatrical lighting, basketball backstops, and a generator; tile replacement in existing bathrooms, the addition of acoustical panels in classrooms, new dimmable light fixtures in existing elementary classrooms; and resurfacing and re striping the existing sports court; subcontractors are also advised to consider two alternate deductions from the project, gymnasium bleachers and folding panel partitions which had been requested in two of the classrooms.
In addition to the two local firms which were represented, those present at the pre-bid meeting on Monday were Brian Muth, an engineer with Gunnison County Electric Assoc., and Keenan McKee with Keenan’s Heating & Plumbing based out of Montrose; other out-of-town subcontractor representatives were on hand from BVC Framing, Caryl Becker from 579 Construction, West Slope Fire Protection, Reeves Hardwood Floors, and All in 1 Drywall Services.
Mobilization work in early May will consist of establishing the work site with an emphasis on the construction area of the new addition adjacent to Gunnison Avenue and 6th Street. Perimeter fencing will be the first change to occur as FCI works to segregate the exisiting school from the new school addition worksite.
“We’re intentionally staying away from Silver Street,” says Cullen Zion, who stated that the main school entrances will continue to be used for the remainder of the present school year and continuing through the early part of the 2019-2020 school year.
Transitions which will gradually occur, however, include the conversion of the school’s parking lot to the north of the existing building. According to School Superintendent Rebecca Hall, a reconfiguration of the school’s Henson Street soccer field will take place with the Henson Street property doing double duty as school playground and a parking area for the school’s fleet of suburbans.
Cullen Zion told subcontractors on Monday that early May will see positioning of a job site trailer which will located on school grounds near the corner of Gunnison Avenue and 6th Street.
Mirroring the construction firm’s safety concerns to stay removed from Silver Street, two entrances/exits onto the construction site will be established on 6th Street and Gunnison Avenue.
Boilerplate information which was dispensed to would-be subcontractors on Monday included the fact that all subcontractors and their employees on the school project will undergo Colorado Bureau of Investigation background checks and will be not be employed in instances of past child-related offenses or domestic violence infractions.
Subcontractors on the Lake City Community School project are required to provide a one-year warranty on their work from the date of substantial completion, must meet FCI’s minimum insurance
requirements, including worker’s compensation
insurance, and must meet OSHA requirements on the worksite including silica compliance, fall protection, and appropriate worksite attire: safety vests, hard hats, and appropriate work clothing.
The project is tax-exempt and taxes should not be included on any bids which are prepared. FCI will provide dumpsters, toilet facilities, concrete blankets, temporary building heat, temporary enclosures, snow removal, etc; each subcontractor will be responsible for their own hoisting, conveying, unloading, scaffolding, etc., as needed for their particular scope of work.
In answer to questions at the pre-bid conference, Blue Spruce Lumber’s Doug Hamel said that the local lumber yard will have fork lifts for hire and limited storage and unloading capabilities at the lumber yard’s north Lake City location.
Hamel questioned FCI representatives whether any consideration had been given to employee housing, given traditionally limited facilities which exist during the summer months. Cullen Zion said quarters have been identified for FCI staff but that subcontractors would essentially be on their own to locate housing.
He acknowledged that contractors from Gunnison and as far away as Montrose might be commuting to the job site. Zion also credited Lake City school administration for sending along rental information.
In response to a request from SILVER WORLD for an overview on how the school project will proceed between May, 2019, and completion in late summer, 2020, FCI Project Manager Cullen Zion provides the following:
Summer 2019 – FCI will mobilize the first week of May. This initial summer while the students are out of school will consist of some select demo of the existing building as needed for our new addition work, as well as beefing up some of the existing building’s roof structure for the new building tie-in.
Then prior to students starting in the fall, we will patch back any demo work, and set up all our safety barriers for student/staff protection.
Outside of the existing building, our primary focus will be on the new addition foundation work, and new underground utility work. By the end of the summer, we will start going vertical with the gymnasium masonry, and will be preparing to go vertical with the new administration and classroom additions.
Fall/Winter of 2019/2020 – We will be focused on the new additions. During the fall, we will be working on all the building structure and working toward getting all the new additions dried in. Then in the winter, we will be working in the interior doing electrical, plumbing, and mechanical rough-in. Following all that rough-in, we will then be doing drywall, paint, and interior finishes. We will also be working on the exterior building siding.
Spring 2020 – We will primarily be working on finishes in the new additions (paint, ceilings, flooring, etc), and we will be trying to get most of that work completed prior to the summer 2020 work in the existing building, as well as finishing up any remaining siding or finishes on the exterior of the building.
We will also use the springtime to prep and make sure we have all of our materials ready to go for the existing building renovations that will happen in the summer.
Summer 2020 – As soon as students finish their school year, we will move into the existing building and do the renovation. That will consist of new electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems, as well as new drywall, paint, flooring and other interior finishes.
We will also be doing the site landscaping and playground work this last summer. We will wrap up the project in its entirety at the end of the summer.
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