PAISD Board approves $195M bond Phase I contracts

Published 6:36 pm Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Architects, construction groups selected for first round of work

The Port Arthur Independent School District Board of Trustees — under new leadership after the May 9 election — approved contract agreements Tuesday night with multiple construction, architecture and engineering firms to lead the first $100 million in projects for the district’s $195 million school bond.

Skanska USA Building Inc., based in New Jersey, was awarded a $2,023,793 contract to oversee the full bond’s construction projects, amounting to $135 million.

“Skanska was selected to oversee what we’re calling the full bond — the major projects requiring an architect, an engineer or a construction-manager-at-risk. The construction-manager-at-risks the Board of Trustees approved Tuesday are each overseeing one full project, one full school,” Reed Richard, PAISD maintenance director, said Wednesday.

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As the construction manager-agent, Skanska will oversee all construction projects at all the schools in the district, as well as any other major construction projects included in the $195 million bond package.

“The reason Skanska is overseeing $135 million — not the full $195 million — is because we’ve taken out all the projects that don’t need a construction manager-agent to oversee them,” Richard said. “We have bond items that are going to be done in-house and we have bond items that don’t require a construction group at all. For instance, we have security and technology improvements. We have bus and mower replacements. You don’t need a construction company to handle those items.

“That remaining $60 million also includes what we call soft costs — insurance for the hired companies, furniture for the additions and new facilities. We haven’t included inflation just yet, because we’ll negotiate that number at a later date — if we need to adjust our spending for that at all. We’ll have to wait and see.”

The Board of Trustees also approved contracts with the lead architecture, engineering and construction firms to oversee the first round of the $195 million bond work.

The architecture and engineering companies will be paid 6 percent of the total cost allotted to build each facility, while the construction companies — working as construction manager-agents, or companies to manage the full scope of work for each respective campus — will be paid a percentage based on their project submittals, Reed said. Each group will receive smaller paychecks as the work is completed, he said, before receiving final payment once each campus or renovation is completed.

PBK Architect and Engineering, of Houston, was awarded a contract to design the new Memorial Ninth Grade Academy — allotted $25,728,000 of the $195 million bond — while Southeast Texas Construction, of Beaumont, was awarded the contract to oversee construction of the campus.

PBK Architects and Engineering was also awarded a contract to design a restroom addition at Memorial High School. Richard said the Memorial High School restroom addition — allotted $270,000 to complete — will be funded using the interest accumulated from the previous bond in which the high school was designed.

Harrison Kornberg Architects, of Houston, was awarded a contract for to design the new Sam Houston Elementary School — allotted $22,080,000 of the total bond package — while N&T Construction, of Beaumont, was awarded the contract to oversee construction for the campus.

Long Architects, Inc., of Beaumont, was awarded a contract to design the new William B. Travis Elementary School — allotted $22,080,000 of the $195 million bond funds — while Daniels Building & Construction, of Beaumont, was awarded the contract to oversee construction of the campus.

Claycomb Associates, Architects, of Houston, was awarded a contract to design $14,290,000 in renovations for Tyrrell Elementary School.

The Board also awarded a contract of 6 percent of $7,816,636 to Smith & Co. Architects, of Houston, to design the Wilson Early College High School — which will complete the work at the old Woodrow Wilson facility behind Lamar State College-Port Arthur.

“Smith & Co. is the firm that designed the first renovation on Woodrow Wilson,” Richard said. “They have all of the preliminaries and existing documentation. It’s really there project — they’ve been with it from the beginning — so the district and the Board of Trustees decided to continue using their services to complete that building.

“We’re still looking for a construction-manager-at-risk for that project, but Smith & Co. designed the first floor of the Wilson building the last time they worked with us. They’re going to use those designs to influence the design for the second and third floors, as well as the addition.”

Richard said each of the companies awarded contracts Tuesday night is under a “do not exceed amount,” which the district will monitor as work is completed on each project.

“As they submit invoices for completed work, we’re going to be closely monitoring their submittals so that everyone involved knows where we stand, how much money is left for each project,” he said. “As these invoices come in to the district, we’re going on site to make sure the work is truly done and done to the standard we’re looking for.

“Before any money is handed out for ‘work completed,’ there are five people that need to approve those expenses. Three people sign before I do, and then (PAISD Superintendent) Dr. Mark Porterie gives the final signature. It’s almost an excessive amount of checks and balances, but we want this work to meet our expectations.”

Twitter: @crhenderson90