Thursday, June 07, 2007

Charles B Murphy School Article

The Hancock County School District on Thursday took three bids under advisement for the construction of two new schools to be built in Lakeshore and Leetown. It may be a while before the bids can be awarded, however, as the board has asked for a state ethics ruling because one of the board members currently works for the low-bidder.
When the issue came up on the agenda, District One board member Packer Ladner left the room, because he is employed by one of the companies (Roy Anderson Corp) which turned in a bid.
Board President Morgan Ladner announced that Roy Anderson Corp. was indeed the low-bidder with a bid on both schools for $31.68 million.
Two other bids were turned in. Starks Construction turned in a bid for $17.1 million for South Hancock and Worstim Corp turned in a bid for $17.5 million.
The two other bids combined total nearly $3 million more than the bid by Roy Anderson.
With the possibility of a conflict with state law because of a Roy Anderson employee being on the school board, the board directed attorney Mark Alexander to seek an opinion from the state ethics commission if the board could accept the low bid.
"This is a lot of money," Morgan Ladner said. "Its high, but its kind of what we expected. They (Roy Anderson) are the low bidder and it is several million less than the others."
Besides the possible conflict, time is another factor the school board is facing in regards to the new schools being built.
The school district has expressed a strong desire for the two new schools to be completed by the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year.
For that to happen, construction must begin by June 1 of this year.
Superintendent David Kopf said the contract allows for 400 days of construction time.
Alexander said he hopes for an opinion by the end of next week. He said the ethics commission meets next week.
"They are aware of our time restraints," he said.
The board took no action on the bids, but rather took them under advisement.
If the ethics commission rules the district cannot accept the low bid, the district would either have to accept the other bids--which would cost taxpayers nearly $3 more-- or rebid the projects, which could take up to two months to receive.

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