From Post staff reports
There will be a new high school built in Lebanon and it is clear to Wilson County Schools Director Mike Davis that the facility will not have all the bells and whistles as the school first proposed at a cost of $54 million.
Davis said Tuesday the County Commission’s approval of a new Lebanon High School came with a price tag of no more than $50 million, a price, he noted, that included all furnishings as well as construction costs.
Davis said he expected the process of selecting a contractor to build the new school to follow what’s known as a “hard bid” or maximum guaranteed bid procedure.
The bid process for the school became controversial a year ago when one building contractor was allowed to submit a bid for construction based on a number of changes in specifications and design that reduced the cost of the project, while others bidding on the project bid strictly on the plans submitted by the school board.
According to Davis, that will not be the case when the project is opened for bids this year.
In order to whittle down the cost of the new school, Davis said there will have to be a number of changes in the existing plans.
He said terrazzo floors in the original specifications will be eliminated along with possibly a reduction in parking spaces and the size of some common areas. He said that the original plan also called for a community storm shelter which was added then because a $1 million grant was available for this provision and because there had been a series of tornadoes to strike Macon and other nearby counties at the time. Now, however, Davis said the grant for the storm shelter is no longer available and this part of the original plans will be dropped.
“I think we have to modify the original plans and specifications in order to get the cost of construction below the $50 million mark. We have to leave enough money for us to appropriately furnish the school,” Davis said.
He said in the previous round of bidding on the original plans for the school, the lowest bid submitted was for $54 million.
Davis said he thinks it’s possible to get the plans ready for bid within 60 days or so and that construction could begin by late summer. He estimated that it would likely take two years to complete construction.