School project bids coming soon
SUTTON – Town Administrator Jim Smith told the Board of Selectmen at their Nov. 19 meeting that bids are coming and a new general contractor for the middle school/high school project could be on board soon.
Smith said Western Surety is working with six general contractors—Fontaine Brothers, Bacon/ Agostini, Braite Builders, G & R Construction, Boston Building and Bridge and CTA—to bid on the project. Smith said all of potential contractors have been to the site at least once while some have been there as many as three times.
Smith said there had been a school building finance committee meeting that morning and bids might be opened this week, though Smith said not to hold him to that. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up fast, Smith said he did not expect to see any significant work done until after the first of the year.
Smith said Western Surety was “on top of it” and working to retain the subcontractors who had been working for TLT before the selectmen dismissed them from the project last month after months of delay on the building project.
“Many of the subs have signed up; some have not,” said Smith. “Those various subs who have not signed up yet are waiting to see who the general contractor is going to be and then they will probably sign up shortly thereafter if we get a good general contractor.
“We may have a new contractor by next week,” said Smith, adding he would keep the Board informed if anything changed.
Selectman Ken Stuart noted there had been issues with two of the contractors bidding on the project—Boston Building and Bridge and CTA—and he asked if these had been addressed. Smith said these concerns had been communicated to Western Surety and all are considered to be qualified to do that job. He noted there have been some problems with CTA and the biggest problem with Boston Building and Bridge was the company never worked on a school building project. He added the Board of Selectmen would need to consent to the new contractor.
He said Western Surety wanted to get as many companies bidding on the work as possible and that they thought that with six bidders they would get some pretty good prices.
“But ultimately, it’s the Surety’s decision,” said Smith, adding they were not obligated to follow procurement rules and were under no obligation to accept the low bidder. “There is some discretion in how they do that,” said Smith.
Selectman John Hebert said he was wary of Boston Building and Bridge precisely because they had nothing on file and was concerned about doing anything that might cause additional problems after everything that the town has been through. He hoped Western Surety would focus on the four top contenders.