Bid awarded for construction of Evergreen BioScience school

$16 million award goes to Skanska USA

By Howard Buck, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: August 25, 2011, 7:54 PM

 

Evergreen Public Schools officials have awarded a $16.1 million contract to a Beaverton, Ore., building contractor to construct its new Health and BioScience Academy.

Skanska USA Building Inc. was the low bidder Tuesday at the school district’s second go-round on the bid award process.

Thursday morning, the Evergreen school board met to approve the bid and sign paperwork for Olympia officials. The district should net about $10.6 million in matching state construction money, putting Evergreen’s building outlay at $5.5 million.

On the Web

See a portfolio of local Skanska projects.

“Which is just fabulous. We’re very excited,” said Sue Steinbrenner, district facilities director.

The health careers-oriented high school will be just north of PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, on about 3 acres just off Northeast 92nd Avenue near Eighth and Ninth streets.

Prep work for construction of the three-story, 69,000-square-foot classroom-and-lab building should begin in about a month, Steinbrenner said. The academy is due for completion in two years, for the start of the fall 2013 school term.

The school will house up to 500 students initially, with potential expansion to 600 students.

Evergreen has met neighborhood concerns by banning student parking on or near the campus. Students will instead be bused from what would be their home high school.

Skanska is based in New York City, with regional offices across the nation.

Local projects completed by the firm include the Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital, the Engineering and Life Sciences Building at Washington State University Vancouver, and major renovation of Kaiser Permanente’s sprawling Sunnyside campus southeast of Portland.

The bid award came weeks after an initial attempt was derailed. On July 26, Skanska ranked second lowest among six construction firms competing for the job.

But, two companies had interpreted Evergreen’s request for proposal rules differently, including the low bidder. They supplied names of major subcontractors in the 60 minutes following the bid deadline, per generic Washington state public school contract guidelines. However, Evergreen’s point-by-point RFP instructions had required full disclosure within the bid documents.

Since the discrepancy could have produced an unfair edge, upon Evergreens’ attorneys’ advice, the school board agreed to nullify the original results and hold a second round of bidding.

“We just wanted to play it safe, and make sure we were being fair” to all companies, Steinbrenner said.

Skanska’s winning bid on Thursday was roughly $400,000 lower than its July offer, as firms were keenly aware of the initial competing bids.

In fact, Skanska’s final bid was far lower than an early Evergreen cost estimate of $16.8 million, Steinbrenner said. That has allowed planners to increase parking space for faculty members and visitors, and expand the building by 9,000 square feet.