Bruin Point expansion? Board picks firm to do it
While it is hard to believe for many that Bruin Point Elementary School has outgrown its current building (which opened in 2007), nonetheless, the growth of the East Carbon/Sunnyside area student population has crowded that building beyond what anyone expected. Consequently, after months of study and a request for proposals concerning an anticipated expansion, and a special board meeting held on Tuesday morning, the Carbon Board of Education selected MGM Construction to do the work beginning this summer. Last September the issue of Bruin Point's student capacity was first addressed when the board discussed the fact that while the building was designed to hold approximately 123 students, the count this year has been about 150.
"The main concern is that the facility is small," said Barry Deeter during that meeting, noting that the building was also inadequate in some other respects as well. The restrooms in the building and the cafeteria had proven to be inadequate for the student population. At the time a feasibility study was approved and when that study came back it addressed some of those inadequacies.
According to Deon Kone, the director of buildings and grounds for the district, initially five contractors said they wanted to do the work on the building. Then two companies dropped out and three were left, but one of a local temp hire to do the building walk through (a physical examination of the facility and the proposed work to be done). That company was dropped out of the bidding and finally there were two left.
At the regular monthly board meeting last Thursday when the company that would get the work was supposed to be named, there was debate about which company to select, because one company was so well known for their good work within the district and the other was a relatively unknown entity. However the less known company's bid was much lower ($592,000 vs. $714,000) to do the work.
"As we have evaluated both the contractors there is not a lot of difference except the price," Kone told the board. "Westland Construction was the higher bidder, but they were also the ones that originally built Bruin Point. MGM Construction has a presence in Utah, but most of their work has been done for Nevada school districts such as Elko and Eureka County. The problem I have is that we know the quality of the work of Westland, but I haven't been able to get all the references I need on MGM yet."
Westland had also done the remodel at Helper Junior High and at the district office when it was converted from the middle school.
At the time the board and administration had quite a discussion about the possible ramifications of either taking a known company with a much higher bid or taking an unknown with a lower price. Deeter was concerned with a challenge from the lower bidder if the district picked Westland. Others were concerned about going with a relatively unknown company even if their price was lower.
Missy Bueno, the principal at Bruin Point said that she had really liked working with Westland when they built the building. She also pointed out no matter who did the work some of the summer activities the school normally holds would be curtailed.
But board member Ruby Cordova said that she had concerns about Westland.
"I have a little heartburn because of some of what I heard about the company when they were building the school," she said. "There was problems with a lot of junk around and there was some reports that someone from the company brought alcohol onto the campus."
Principal Bueno then said she had not heard of any such problems, but was concerned after hearing Cordova's comments. However, Kone said that he knew that the company supervision would never allow alcohol around the school, and if that had been a problem they would have removed the subcontractors or workers involved.
Kone then suggested that he be given time to get the call backs from Nevada school district officials concerning references on MGM Construction. But he also reminded the board that because of construction schedules, a decision needed to be made within a week. That's when the board decided on the extra Tuesday morning meeting.