LITTLE COMPTON — School officials opened bids in Town Hall late Friday and got more bad news about the renovation project. Electrical and site work bids relating to installation of the temporary classrooms jacked prospective costs up from $199,651 to $422,450, depending on which combination of bids is chosen.
Costs could be more if access routes into the temporary site are asphalted instead of graveled. Several roads and driveways routes are proposed into and through the site for school buses, parent drop offs, guests, teachers, and parking, and bids for asphalting surfaces that would otherwise be graveled were sought as add-ons.
Officials are caught up in a swirl of bidding and escalating costs for the school renovation project. The modular classrooms — the cost for which alone is $630,000 — once thought to be something of a sidelight to the main construction project regarding the old main building, have emerged since last month to become a major expense, as installation costs for the two 70-foot temporary facilities mount.
Friday’s bid opening featured just one electrical contractor’s bid for the electrical work needed to locate the modular classrooms on the now-favored temporary site at Peckham Lot west of the main Wilbur & McMahon building.
Rossi Electric Co. of Cranston submitted a base bid of $52,691 to do the electrical work for the installation of the modular classrooms.
In its bid documents, Rossi said it would take them 30 days to do the job from the time they start work. That start date is uncertain, however, since the major renovation contract itself has not yet been awarded, and won’t be until a rebidding process intended to bring costs within budget is completed, at the earliest Oct. 9 when rebid opening is expected to be scheduled.
Two contractors submitted bids Friday for the other component of preparation for the temporary buildings — the site and septic work. That’s down from the six bidders that attended a mandatory pre-bidding conference for interested contractors on Monday, Sept. 10.
Eastcoast Landscaping & Construction Co. of Portsmouth submitted a base bid of $146,960, work which it said would take 15 working days to complete. To add asphalt the access roads, Eastcoast bid an additional add-on cost of $31,115.
The other site and septic bidder was ModSpace, the same contractor providing the two temporary structures themselves. ModSpace submitted a base bid of $369,759. It said in its bid that the site and septic work would take 30 days to complete. To add asphalting, ModSpace bid $68,780.
ModSpace also added-on the estimated cost ($81,463) of redistributing the stockpiled soil across the site, presumably after the project is completed and the modular structures are removed. ModSpace bid 12 days to do the redistribution work. Eastcoast did not submit a cost-estimate or timeline for that work.
Costs for restoring the Peckham Lot and Veterans Field, after the renovation work is done and the modular classrooms are removed, are not known to have been estimated yet. Specifications for the installation of the modular units call for removing and stockpiling topsoil and an amount necessary for the rock and gravel foundation for the structures.
In an interview after the bids were opened Friday, Mr. Allder said the EastCoast and ModSpace bids would be looked at carefully and “qualified.” He noted that the East Coast ‘s base bid was less than half that of ModSpace’s.
ModSpace is a provider and installer of modular units nationwide. EastCoast is experienced locally in site and excavation work.
Where to from here, Mr. Allder was asked. “I don’t know what to expect at this point,” he said. “Just take it as it comes.”