By Bill Short
Later this month, the Millington school system will open new bids submitted for construction of a proposed Performing Arts Center, based on revised architectural plans.
Dr. David Roper, superintendent of Millington Municipal Schools, made the announcement Monday night during the school board’s regular monthly meeting.
He said the bids will be opened at 2 p.m. Oct. 11 in the Harvell Civic Center Auditorium. Then, the board’s architectural/engineering firm TLM Associates of Jackson will review them to ensure that they are “in order” and that “things are as they need to be.”
Roper also said a special called meeting is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 17 to present the bids to the board, along with the firm’s recommendation for approval of the lowest/best bidder.
“We are hoping the bids will come in at an acceptable level for the Performing Arts Center,” he noted. “And hopefully, we’ll be able to move forward on that project.”
At an April 20 special called meeting, a majority of the board members rejected the lowest/best bid of $6,368,876 submitted by Fulwood Construction Co. of Olive Branch, Miss.
A motion offered by board Vice Chairman C. J. Haley and seconded by Chairman Cody Childress to accept the bid was defeated by a 4-3 vote, with Mark Coulter, Chris Denson, Larry Jackson and Ronnie Mackin dissenting.
Roper told the board at a June 29 meeting that he had asked TLM Associates to submit new designs for construction of the proposed building on the Millington Central High School campus.
He said he believed those designs could “substantially” decrease the construction cost by “reducing the footprint” of the building with exclusion of the MCHS Broadcasting Department from it.
At its Sept. 5 meeting, the board voted to advertise for new bids.
Jerry Hartsfield and Frank Wagster of TLM Associates presented revised architectural plans that removed the Broadcasting Department, the “shop area” and an enclosed walkway from the building’s square footage.
“We now have a covered walkway that’s open and not enclosed,” Hartsfield noted. “The parking lot, access drives and storm drainage all stayed pretty much the same as the original plans.”
Hartsfield also said the interior of the building, including the stage, number of seats, lobby space and restrooms, was not changed.
In response to a question by Childress, he said “the big thing” was the removal of 6,000 square feet, which is reflected on the floor plan.
Hartsfield acknowledged that, to decrease the construction cost, the architectural plans had to be changed.
“If you change one or two things on there,” he noted, “it basically changes almost every one of your drawings. So, we didn’t keep too many of the drawings that we had originally.”
Wagster said he met with the same “plans reviewer” for the Tennessee Fire Marshal’s Office in Nashville who had reviewed the original set of plans. The reviewer told him that the revised plans were “close enough” to the original set to get them approved “pretty quickly.”
Although the reviewer “balked” at his request to not charge for reviewing the new set of plans, Wagster said he found out that he was charged twice for the review when he submitted the original fee.
“He is sending us a 50-percent rebate on the first review,” he noted. “That’s about $12,000, which basically pays for the review.”
Wagster said the Fire Marshal’s Office indicated that, based on the revised drawings, it would not have to start over from Square One with a full review. And the reviewer asked that the new set of plans be sent directly to him.
Roper cited new cost estimates for the project, based on reduction of the design to 19,747 square feet. He said adding architectural fees, construction administration, Memphis Light, Gas & Water fees, seating, lighting, stage curtains, etc., brings the total projected cost to $5,978,059.10.
The superintendent recalled that, when the board originally advertised for bids in March, the cost including the broadcasting equipment came to $7,248,876. So, the difference between those two amounts is $1,270,817.
In response to a question by Denson, Hartsfield said the owner of Fulwood Construction will probably submit a new bid because of his strong interest in the project. He noted that Fulwood’s bid last spring was $180,000 less than the second-lowest one submitted.
Roper said there is a cost of approximately $15,339 associated with advertising for new bids on the project. That includes $8,800 for 3 percent of the total architectural/engineering bidding fee, $4,553 for printing and distribution of plans and specifications and slightly more than $2,000 for advertising.
Because there is also a time line involved in the rebidding process, Roper said mid-November is the “earliest” that construction could begin.
By Bill Short