School technology bid approved by S.P. City Council

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SOUTH PORTLAND — A brief City Council meeting Wednesday allowed the School Board to proceed with spending for furnishings and technology at the high school, while City Manager Jim Gailey provided updates on city road construction.

By 6-0 votes, with Councilor Al Livingston unable to attend, councilors approved a $373,000 bid from Portland-based ProAv Systems for equipping each of 85 classrooms with an LCD projector, three whiteboards, a voice amplification system and an audio/speaker system.

South Portland School Department Technology Director Andrew Wallace said three bids were received for the job, and the ProAv System bid for an EnoFlex system best encompassed cost and equipment factors for the classrooms.

The bidders were asked to set up two “concept classrooms,” and provide information sessions for students and staff last winter. On Feb. 28, community members, staff, councilors, School Board members and High School Building Committee members viewed system demonstrations and answered surveys.

“The EnoFlex solution was the overwhelming favorite among everyone who used it, or saw the demonstrations,” Wallace said in a memo to Gailey.

A total of $402,000 in bids for high school easels, chairs, tables, shelves and work stations were approved for four vendors. Nashua, N.H.-based School Furnishings Inc. was awarded a  $243,000 bid, Portland-based Creative Office Pavilion was awarded a $97,000 bid, the Portland branch of W.B. Mason was awarded a $61,000, and Mansfield, Ohio-based School Specialty was awarded a $583 bid.

The school bids were approved by the School Board at a special meeting Tuesday.

In his remarks opening the council meeting, Gailey invited the public to a 9 a.m. Sept. 14 open house at the current Public Works, Parks and Recreation and Transportation headquarters off O’Neil Street.

With a $14 million bond question for a new combined facility off Highland Avenue on the Nov. 5 ballot, the open house and another in October will allow visitors to learn about current working conditions and view plans for the new facility.

Gailey said a video created by Parks and Recreation Director Rick Towle will be posted on the city website, and neighborhood meetings begin at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 in City Hall. The first is focused on the Meetinghouse Hill neighborhood, but Gailey said the entire public is invited to attend.

Reconstruction work on East Broadway from Cottage Road to Pickett Street is about halfway to completion, but Gailey said concrete traffic islands installed at intersections for pedestrian safety will be removed.

Gailey said the city got a call from a Spring Street resident last week unable to turn from Broadway to Spring Street while towing a boat. The South Portland Fire Department then tried make the turns with trucks and found them too tight.

“We found out we really couldn’t make the turns safely without either damaging city equipment, damaging utility equipment like utility poles … or driving up on people’s lawns,” Gailey said.

The islands might be replaced by paint or reflective tape, Gailey said Thursday. It has not been determined whether the city or the state Department of Transportation would assume additional costs for the changes.

Gailey added the final paving is expected to be completed by Sept. 10.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.