Today is Thursday, August 24, 2017

LHS bids not apples to apples

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The new bids are $56.647 million from R.G. Anderson, $54.999 million from Hardaway and  a GMP of $48,095,742 from Hewlett-Spencer.However, Hewlett Spencer acknowledges in their attached letter that they have deleted some items from the original architect’s plans.

They do not specify what these items are, except to state, “certain value engineered items including unneeded space, have been deleted.”

The bids will be checked by both the architect and the county attorney before a special called board meeting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18 when the board will decide whether to accept one of the hard bids or the GMP offer from Hewlett-Spencer.

At the August meeting, County Attorney Mike Jennings advised the board that none of the bids were in compliance with a Tennessee law passed July 1, requiring each bidder to name a geothermal contractor who has a TDEC license and to post the TDEC license number on the front of their bid.

The three lowest bidders all used geothermal providers contractors’ numbers instead of the TDEC number, and while the fourth bidder listed the right number they failed to include other information the new law requires, according to Jennings.

So the board rejected all four bids and rebid the project. The board also asked Hewlett-Spencer to submit a guaranteed maximum price bid at the same time.

Hardaway Construction turned in a competitive bid on the new LHS based on the plans and specifications provided by  the architects for $54.999 million or just over $1.6 million lower than the next competitive bid submitted by RG Anderson. Hardaway’s previous bid was $58 million.

Anderson’s bid this time is $56.647million, an amount nearly identical to their earlier bid. It also includes a package of proposed changes, which they say would cut about $2.5 million from their bid.

Stan Hardaway, president of Hardaway Construction, said his company would be willing to work with the school system on a similar package.

"If Wilson County would like to reduce the cost of the project, then we would be more than happy to work with the architect and identify areas that the cost could be reduced from the current plans and specifications that were bid,” Hardaway said. “Since we were the legitimate low bidder on the current set of plans and specs for the new South Hartmann high school, then we feel that it would only be appropriate for the County to work with us on any cost reduction measures."

Hewlett-Spencer apparently hired a consultant, D. Jack Owenby, to evaluate the design and come up with cost cutting changes. In order to cut costs enough to justify the $48 million Hewlett-Spencer bid the specs would have to change, which they also acknowledge in their letter to the school system.

Hewlett-Spencer plans to use Ray Bell Construction so the cuts could be extensive. Ray Bell Construction had an original bid of $62.75 million when the project was bid the first time, the highest of all bids. The new bid of $48 million is $14.6 million less than the first bid by Ray Bell Construction.However, Hewlett-Spencer representative Bill Fletcher said that the cuts involved the number of square feet and replacing items such as Terrazzo flooring with less expensive substitutes.

“The GMP is all inclusive,” he said. “Hewlett-Spencer will be saving the taxpayers about $7 million on the new Lebanon High School the same way they already saved the taxpayers about $20 million on previous projects.”

Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at

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