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2:25 PM Tue, Nov. 20th

HUSD board OKs contract for school in Granville area

PRESCOTT VALLEY – The Humboldt Unified School District Governing Board awarded a $6,063,550 contract this week to the N.L. Booth Construction Co. of Phoenix for construction of an elementary school to serve the Granville area.

School officials expect to break ground for the project within the next two weeks, according to Kirk Waddle, HUSD's finance director.

The district plans to open the school in time for the 2005-06 school year.

N.L Booth's bid was the lowest of four that the district received. The high base bid of $6,488,000 came from M. Greenberg, while Kinney Construction bid $6,309,000, and Ry Tan bid $6,260,000.

N.L. Booth's base bid was $136,000 more than the architect's estimate of $5,984,000, which was made three years ago. Its negotiated bid is only $63,000 above the estimate.

"I think this is a very good contract. It covers everything we need," Superintendent Henry Schmitt said at the meeting Tuesday.

Waddle said Booth's contract is close to the architect's estimate despite the sharp increase in raw materials.

Another thing that helped keep the cost down, he said, was that originally the plans called for a 58,000-square-foot elementary school. However, the final blueprints indicate a slightly smaller school.

The awarding of the contract was possible because the Arizona Schools Facilities Board agreed Dec. 2 to provide an additional $687,596, Schmitt said in a memo to the board.

Part of the Granville school site, he said, is situated in a floodplain, necessitating site preparation that the additional money covers.

Schmitt says he feels very confident about the project team, which consists of members from Orcutt/Winslow Partnership (architects), GV Enterprises (HUSD project managers), DarComm Network Solutions (technology consultants), and N.L. Booth (building contractors).

The construction schedule is set out in two-week periods corresponding to the HUSD board meeting schedule.

Any change orders must come before the board for approval, and the board meets every two weeks. This will help keep the project running smoothly if changes are necessary, Schmitt said.

In other matters:

• Mariela Bean, English language learners coordinator, presented an update on the district's ELL program.

Since last year, there has been a 16 percent increase in students needing ELL services. It takes five to seven years of immersion to acquire proficiency, and shortening this gap is one of the challenges on which Bean is working.

• Christine Scott, president of the Humboldt Teachers Association, presented Schmitt with a $500 check. The money was from chili sales during the football game matching Prescott and Bradshaw Mountain high schools. The money goes toward student programs.

• Schmitt provided board members with a list of interested parties for seven ad hoc committees. He commended the members and HUSD staff, saying, "The involvement of teachers and parents has surpassed my expectations. The work, commitment and passion among the administrative staff is second to none."

Sue Tone is a reporter for the Prescott Valley Tribune.