In September, the McDuffie County School Board made a decision that appears to have saved more than half of a million dollars.
Bidding for construction of the new junior high school was to open on Sept. 14. When Assistant Superintendent Jim Franklin learned from Architect Greg Smith that only one bidder was expected, the Board postponed the bidding date until Tuesday, Oct. 24.
Three contractors - R.W. Allen Associates, who would have been the lone bidder in September, McKnight Construction Co. and Ra-Lin Construction Co., proposed bids on Oct. 24. The lowest bid - $17,010,000 came in $649,000 lower than the bid of R.W. Allen. Superintendent Mark Petersen said he didn't know if the Allen bid would have been the same in September as it was in October, but he's assuming it would be close.
"So if you compare and assume that the one company was going to turn in the same bid that they turned in the second time, then we saved $649,000 by delaying until other contractors could bid," he said.
Mr. Smith will make a presentation to the Board at the November planning meeting, and Dr. Petersen said he expects a contract will be signed the next day. "It's never going to be as cheap as it is today, the prices are going to go up, but we can make this thing happen," Dr. Petersen said. "(After signing the contract), in a couple of weeks, we can break ground and move forward."
According to the contractor bids, the construction will take 540 days to complete.
Funds for the new school are provided by Special Purpose Local Optional Sales Tax IV. The building will house eighth and ninth graders and will be located on White Oak Road across from the high school.