Bid for $2.53M approved for Phase 2 of FCPS roof project

Published 5:01 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2023

The Franklin City School Board voted 5-0 on Dec. 7 to award a $2.53 million contract to Simpson Unlimited that will complete Phase 2 of the school division’s roof project at S.P. Morton Elementary School and Franklin High School.

The board vote was short of seven votes because At-Large Board Member Carrie Johnson was not present at the meeting and the Ward 6 board seat is vacant.

DETAILS ON THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

Prior to the vote, Franklin City Public Schools Director of Operations Dr. Clint Walters stated in his presentation to the board that Garland/Design-Build Solutions Inc. had released a Request for Proposals on behalf of FCPS to solicit bids for the completion of Phase 2 of the roof project.

“We’ve worked very, very closely with them to take what was initially phased over three phases, consolidating that to complete that with just a second phase,” he said.

He included aerial photos of S.P. Morton and FHS in his slideshow presentation, with parts of the schools’ roofs shaded in blue. These pictures are also provided in connection with this story.

“If you’ll take a look at both pictures, the areas that are shaded in blue are the areas that are going to be targeted with Phase 2, with a small exception at Franklin High School,” Walters said. 

Focusing on the FHS aerial photo and red arrows overlaid onto the photo, he said, “The red arrows are (pointing at) the roof covering the covered walkway between second hall and third hall. We’re continuing to look at some capital improvement on those sections to improve safety, and so it’s very likely that we’re going to be doing some larger construction at those breezeway areas.

“In speaking with Garland, I didn’t want us to move forward with roof improvements (to those breezeway areas) just to have to demo that as part of a larger project, so I did ask that they specifically pull that from the RFP that was being shared out with our businesses,” he said.

A RANGE OF OFFERS

He noted that the RFP resulted in four competitive offers to complete Phase 2 of the roof project:

  • Simpson Unlimited — $2,529,652;
  • Raintree Services — $2,729,133;
  • TeamCraft Roofing — $3,085,999; and 
  • Eskola Roofing — $3,453,756.

Ward 2 Board Member Arwen Councill later said, “I’m curious about the huge difference between the highest and the lowest bid and in terms of quality and how that impacts if we take the lowest bid. Obviously I’m not looking to just spend money, but I just want to make sure we’re getting a really good job well done.”

Walters said he has developed significant trust in the judgment of Garland Territory Manager Colin Daniels in this regard.

“He has provided us with superior work with Phase 1 at both the elementary school and the high school, and I’m willing to trust his judgment,” Walters said. “His expectation of his contractors that he brings on the team, it is not going to change.”

Walters then also shared some thoughts on what factors might have accounted for the more favorable bids.

“Some of these contractors are trying to move into the Tidewater area, northeastern North Carolina area, and so they really see this as an opportunity to do some work that will then draw in additional business in this area,” he said. “So I think that that part also led to some competitive pricing, but (Daniels) has encouraged us to move as quickly as possible so that we can lock in at 2023 or very early 2024 pricing.”

BIDDING THE PROJECTS COLLECTIVELY SEPARATE

Walters noted that the school division asked Garland to bid the SPM and FHS roof projects “collectively separate.”

“We wanted to work with one contractor because we believe that the cost is going to be a little more favorable for us to only have one contractor if they’re able to bring in the supplies, they’re able to mobilize one team, but we did need for them to separate out the cost,” he said.

Then he provided a breakdown of contract cost and funding streams.

The estimated total cost of Phase 2 of the S.P. Morton roof project is $805,829.30, with funding coming from an anticipated literary loan in that amount to pay for it.

The estimated total cost of Phase 2 of the FHS roof project is $1,700,157.70, with an anticipated $1 million literary loan and $700,157.70 from the division’s construction fund paying for it.

This funding collectively adds up to $2,529,652.

“The reason that we needed to separate this out is we are pursuing another round of literary loans to help us fund this work, and we’re able to fund up to $1 million per project,” Walters said. “So we couldn’t just say ‘FCPS roofing projects,’ because we would only receive $1 million dollars. We needed those to be teased out to the S.P. Morton project and the Franklin High School project.”

Walters concluded his presentation by noting that the division was seeking approval from the board to move forward with the contractor whose pricing was $2.5 million.

HVAC REPLACEMENT AT SPM

He also provided the board with some insight regarding an upcoming HVAC replacement project happening at S.P. Morton.

He indicated that FCPS returned $1 million to the city as part of the school division’s construction fund, $700,157.70 of which is set to be used on Phase 2 of the roof project at FHS.

“We need a large chunk of that remaining construction funding to pay for the HVAC replacement at S.P. Morton,” he said.