Bidding turned out to be competitive, said Sean Irvin of TSP, the project's architect. Seven contractors indicated an interest in constructing the proposed addition on Jolley Elementary School.
The Vermillion School Board opened the bids at a special meeting March 5, and made their final decision on who will do the work at its regular meeting March 12.
All seven contractors who submitted bids provided a base bid and additional price quotes for unexpected fill and excavation they may encounter as they tackle the project.
Sunkota Construction had the lowest base bid of $1, 287,000. One reason that Sunkota offered a low bid, Irvin said, is an extra incentive offered by the school district.
"I did talk to them about the $13,000 reward that you all had approved offering to them should they get done at a relatively early date of just over five months of construction," he said, "and they tell me that is exactly why their numbers are low, because they plan on taking advantage of that.
"They assure me that they will be done in time to get that because they are counting on that as a portion of their profit," Irvin said. Meeting that deadline would mean Sunkota would have the project completed in early August.
"Having seven bidders to choose from is a unique situation to be in these days," Irvin said. "It's exemplary of how well the bidders looked at the work." Architects had estimated the building addition would cost approximately $1.35 million. "We were right in the middle somewhere," Irwin said.
Vermillion school administrators and members of the school board began discussing the school addition last November when it became apparent that Austin and Jolley elementary schools were both running out of room.
"This floor plan consists of eight classrooms, a girls' rest room, a boys' rest room and relatively new feature that was added at the end of the design.
"That's a teaching lab that's to the east of the north-most classroom," Irvin said. "That particular item is there to allow such people as USD students to sit behind an acoustically-separated one-way mirror and be able to watch the students in the classroom without being disrupted by having all of the students sitting and watching the teaching process in progress."
Currently, Austin School contains grades K-2, while Jolley School contains grades 3-5. Moving second grade to Jolley School will free up space at Austin for larger incoming classes as well as programs now facing a space crunch.
Last November, Froke emphasized the project was modest and would meet the needs of moderate growth in the district of about 1,300 students. Froke presented enrollment projections, which show growth of 17 students next year at Austin School, eventually bringing an increase of 42 students at Jolley School and then the middle school as those students move through the system. Based on those same projections, the high school could grow by as much as 60 students in a decade.
The projections include not only growth in the pre-school and lower grades but also birth rates and the 10 students added to the sixth grade each year from St. Agnes Catholic School, Froke said.
The birth rate was based on Department of Health statistics, figuring 66 percent of the resident births in Clay County will attend the Vermillion School District.
Enrollment projections estimated Austin�s enrollment to increase from 321 students in 2006 to 338 in 2007, then ease back down to 326. As those students move through the upper elementary grades, Jolley will increase from 296 students in 2008 to 321 in 2009, 338 in 2010 and then 326 in 2011.
Likewise, those students will push the middle school numbers from 326 students in 2011 to 351 in 2012, 368 in 2013 and 356 in 2014.