Board of County Commissioners Actions: Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Board of County Commissioners Actions
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Washington County Director of Public Works Gary Rohrer brought this request, for approval of the Maugansville Elementary School contract for advertisement pending funding for budgetary shortfall. The Advisory School Design Review Committee has completed its review of the construction drawings for the school. One of the early review meetings included discussion regarding the lifecycle costs of a standing seam metal roof vs. a built-up roof. Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) provided a cost analysis with insufficient information to draw any conclusion. This concept should be examined more closely before applying it to all future large-scale school projects, the Committee said. Another point of concern is the WCPS intention to bid both Westfields and Maugansville Elementary Schools within several weeks of each other. The Committee recommended that WCPS receive bids at least 30 days apart to encourage better participation from contractors. BOE President Roxanne Ober stated that the priority should be on the opening day of the 2008 school year, not on a 30-day buffer between issuing bids. Commissioners' President John Barr, a local contractor, stated that 30 days is the limitation preferred by the contracting community in order to fully read and prepare bid documents and line up subcontractors, with 21 days being the least that would be acceptable. The total estimated cost of Maugansville Elementary is $24.6 million including $2.25 million in site work. The current state allocation for this project is 31% of construction costs or $6.6 million, but an additional $300,000 may be available. Discussion centered on the need to know accurate cost and funding figures. The measure, to move the project to bid, pending final approval by the State, was approved on a 4-0 vote with Commissioner Wivell "abstaining".
Boyd Michael, Assistant Superintendent for School Operations, and Robert Rollins, Acting Director of Facilities Planning and Development brought this discussion ton the joint meeting. Maryland requires the use of Prevailing Wage in local School construction when a project's construction cost is over $500,000 and it has 50% or greater state funding. Prevailing wage is considerably higher than wages paid locally. Maugansville Elementary, with a state commitment of 31% will be bid without the use of Prevailing Wage. WCPS has requested the state provide 65% of the $21.4 million construction cost for Westfields Elementary, but a commitment of only $2 million has been allocated to date by the state. That amount has been appealed, and because of uncertain funding, the project will be bid both with and without prevailing wage usage. Pangborn Elementary's construction cost estimate of $22.1 million has received a commitment to date of $4.7 million from the state, and that project will be bid both with and without prevailing wage figures. Boyd and Rollins said that requesting dual bids from contractors could limit the number of bidders. Not requesting full state participation to avoid use of Prevailing Wage could result in higher costs to the County. However if the state allocates less than 50% of construction costs, then a project could be less costly to local government.