Brunswick school board awards contract for new school

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BRUNSWICK — Ledgewood Construction, a South Portland-based company, has been awarded the contract to build the new Kate Furbish Elementary School on Jordan Avenue.

The Brunswick School Board unanimously voted Aug. 22 to award Ledgewood the contract, which came in at just less than $20.3 million and is roughly $2 million less than estimates given by architects last year.

At the same meeting, board members voted unanimously to authorize Superintendent Paul Perzanoski to negotiate a two-year contract with Brunswick High School’s new principal, Troy Henniger.

Henniger will replace Shanna Crofton, who will be switching roles within the district to become curriculum coordinator, effective Sept. 1.

The Building Committee recommended Ledgewood Construction after consulting with PDT Architects last week.

According to Matthew Pitzer of PDT, Ledgewood’s bid was the lowest among the four bidders that also included PC Construction Company ($20,337,000), Ouellet Construction ($20,415,313), and Sheridan Construction ($23,451,000).

Each of the estimates included costs for alternates. Each company’s base bid for the project before including alternate costs was between $700,000 and $900,000 less. 

Kate Furbish Elementary School will replace Jordan Acres Elementary School, which was built in 1973 and permanently closed in 2011. The new school will replace the aging, at-capacity Coffin Elementary School as well.

Voters approved borrowing $28 million for the new school in 2017.

In February, the Planning Board approved the final site plan for the $70,900-square-foot school, which is intended to house 660 students in pre-kindergarten through second grade.

Demolition of the old Jordan Acres school was rescheduled from the beginning to the end of this summer due to “open hazardous materials” – such as asbestos – being exposed in the building, according to School Board member Sarah Singer.

Beginning construction this season would allow for site work to continue through August 2020 and put the school on track to open for the 2020-21 school year.

In May, the School Board voted to name the school after Catherine “Kate” Furbish, a 19th-century Brunswick botanist and artist famous for her biologically accurate renderings of flora and fauna. 

Pitzer said Wednesday that because the construction bid came in so far under budget, he and Lyndon Keck, also of PDT Architects, have talked to the building committee about some items that were “shrunk down” during the planning process.

The items include playgrounds, furnishings and movable equipment, as well as funding for Percent for Art.

Pitzer said he and Keck are recommending $100,000 be moved back into the budget for playgrounds. In addition, the cost for furnishings and equipment, he added, is in the budget at $682,245, which is “significantly below” what was recommended.

Pitzer said the state usually recommends 6 percent of construction budgets should be used for furnishings and equipment, which would add about $500,000 more to Brunswick’s construction cost in that area. The budget for technology could also use bolstering, he said.

Seeking an agreement to add solar panels to the building, he said, might also be a consideration if savings are realized as the project continues.

“The building has been designed as a solar-ready building, so the structure’s there, the space is there for the equipment, it’s just a matter of the actual solar panels,” he said.

Elizabeth Clemente can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @epclemente

Matt Pitzer of PDT Architects presents to the Brunswick School Board Aug. 22. The School Board voted unanimously to award a nearly $20.3 million construction contract to Ledgewood Construction to build Kate Furbish Elementary.