District hires firm to lead construction
Tonganoxie school board members on Monday voted to hire Turner Construction Company to guide any construction projects approved by voters as part of a bond issue.
Richard Erickson, school superintendent, said Turner will assign one person to handle the project. Although Erickson said Tuesday he does not yet know who that person will be, he noted that Kris Roberts, a construction manager with Turner, lives in the school district.
The school district is currently looking at building a new 5-8 middle school on the district's 80 acres in the southeast corner of Tonganoxie, converting the existing elementary school into a K-4 facility, and converting the high school/junior high campus into a 9-12 high school.
The current estimated price tag of $25.6 million would have to be approved by voters. At this time, the district is tentatively planning to hold a bond election in November. And, the school board hopes in the meantime to trim the estimated construction costs.
The board members voted 6-0 to hire Turner Construction on a contingency basis at 5.5 percent commission.
The decision was presented to the board only after a subcommittee of the district's facilities improvement committee interviewed representatives from seven construction managerial firms.
The committee spent about seven hours last week talking to teams and arriving at a recommendation, Erickson said.
"They all had excellent references," Erickson said, as he told board members he thought Turner would be the best fit.
"We felt that the experience that Turner brings -- with a number of projects that they're doing nationwide and with the size of the firm -- that they're the best fit for the Tonganoxie school district at this point," Erickson said.
He emphasized that Turner has a strong track record in working with schools throughout the nation.
As soon as Turner appoints a person as construction manager, meetings will begin with DLR Group, the architectural firm hired on a contingency basis to lead the school district through possible construction.
"I think they're going to start right away in meeting with our architect and reviewing our $25.6 million proposal," Erickson said. "They're going to be working with DLR to try to reduce the cost projection on that proposal."