Taking a stand in the name of fiscal responsibility and caution,
School Board Trustee Shelle Thomas led a successful effort during
’s special meeting to delay awarding of eight primary
construction contracts for Sobrato High School until the bids for
the next part of the project are received in approximately two
Taking a stand in the name of fiscal responsibility and caution, School Board Trustee Shelle Thomas led a successful effort during Tuesday’s special meeting to delay awarding of eight primary construction contracts for Sobrato High School until the bids for the next part of the project are received in approximately two weeks.
“I take the ‘trust’ part of trustee seriously,” said Thomas. “We spent $18,000 on the Saylor report to tell us what went wrong with Barrett (Elementary). I feel we could be walking in those footsteps again … The bottom line, to me, is fiscal responsibility and accountabilty.”
The motion was approved, 4-3, with Board President Tom Kinoshita and Trustees Del Foster and George Panos voting against, and Trustees Mike Hickey, Amina Khemici, Jan Masuda and Thomas voting in favor of the delay.
The special meeting was called during the May 19 regular meeting for the purpose of awarding contracts for eight separate portions of the project.
The apparent low bids up for consideration total $26,354,646, and include site and building concrete, masonry, structural steel and miscellaneous metals and fencing, rough carpentry, metal roof and sheet metal, hollow metal and wood doors/frames/hardware, plumbing and heating venting and air conditioning, and electrical and low voltage systems.
The bids came in higher than the Jacobs Facilities estimate of $22,048,312 and Turner Construction’s parametric estimate of $23,350,000.
The board called a special meeting June 19 to discuss the next round of bids as well as the bids not awarded Tuesday.
The district hopes the school will open in August 2004.
The original design was for a capacity of 2,500 students; a scaled-back design will accomodate 1,500, with the potential to be expanded to the original size in the future.
Al Solis, director of construction/modernization for the district, said the delay in awarding the bids could cost the district a month’s construction time and approximately $225,000 in mobilization costs. He recommended against the delay.
“What’s past is past, and I don’t think we have to bring that in,” he said, referring to the cost overruns the district incurred in the construction of Barrett Elementary, which the audit by Saylor Consulting attributed partly to an accelerated timetable. “We need to understand both the educational needs and the construction need. The delay is not buying you anything.”
Sobrato Planning Principal Rich Knapp expressed his concern about the delay from an educational standpoint.
“My primary concern is moving the ninth graders into the high school, and it alsways has been,” he said. “This is the biggest systemic issue we have within our schools. In order for that to take place, Sobrato has to open; opening in August of 2004 gives us an opportunity to do that. I would be very disappointed if we had to postpone that opening.”
The future staff of Sobrato will also suffer from the delay, he said.
“ I’m concerned about the impact this has on the teaching staff, those who are talking about making a trasition a year from now,” Knapp said. “They need to start gearing up and a lot of activities involved with opening a new school. They need to be included in the transfer process.”
Hickey said he felt a need to be cautious.
“I’m willing to go out on a limb, just not willing to give a chainsaw to the guy behind me,” he said. “I guarantee that if you put it to a vote, the community would say wait and see.”
Solice presented a project budget summary to the board Tuesday night, which lists the total Sobrato budget from an August 2002 Jacobs Facilities estimate as $75,962,616, and the May 2003 Turner Construction estimate as $75,967,070.
The estimates do not include the $3.5 million from the City of San Jose for purchase of the greenbelt area of the Sobrato site to be used for purchase of surrounding properties for the high school site.
Superintendent Carolyn McKennan said Wednesday any costs from disassociating the district from Jacobs Facilities, the firm that began the project in its design phase, are included in the budget.
Site preparation work on Sobrato High, north the city limits along Monterey Road, is under way.