Construction of Package II of the 2018 Natalia ISD bond is set to begin as early as March 2 after the Board of Trustees granted Superintendent Dr. Hensley Cone the authority to begin negotiations with General Contractor W. R. Griggs Construction.
The move came during the Board meeting held last Monday, January 10, after Construction Manager Helen Keaton updated the Board on the results of the bidding process.
Eleven general contractors submitted bids, which ranged from $10,479,000 to $12,006,000.
“Once we received all of the proposals, the proposals were evaluated by a seven-person team,” Keaton said.
Evaluation criteria included the cost of the bid (50 percent), qualifications (30 percent), and contractor interviews (20 percent).
Qualifications included years in business, the number of similar projects, reputation and references, prospective subcontractors, and more.
Each general contractor was interviewed, and their project manager, project superintendent, understanding of Package II, and other considerations were taken into account.
Keaton recommended W.R. Griggs Construction, who submitted a $10.6 million bid.
According to Executive Director of Finance Norma Friddle, the district has $9.1 million remaining of the initial $10.7 million bond that was approved in November 2018, leaving a $1.5 million deficit.
Friddle said the district has $756,000 in construction funds set aside for the project, as well as about $145,000 in continually accruing interest from money in the bank.
Additionally, the district currently has around $5.7 million in its fund balance, with average monthly expenditures of around $1 million.
“So if we’ve got $5.7 million in our fund balance right now, that basically tells us we’ve got about 5.63 months of reserves in our fund balance,” Friddle said. “So if we have to dip in there for about $622,000, that will bring our operating revenues down to about five months of reserves.
“So it does not put the district in any kind of financial strain if we do have to go to the fund balance to close that gap.”
Cone pointed out that money won’t be taken from the construction fund or fund balance until towards the end of the project, which is scheduled to be complete on June 18, 2021.
“We will not be accessing these funds till way later in the game,” Friddle said. “We have to exhaust all of our bond funds before we even touch interest, touch the construction fund set aside, or even touch our fund balance.
A motion by Board President Eric Smith and member Paul Almendarez to grant Cone the authority to negotiate a contract with W. R. Griggs Construction passed unanimously with the support of Vice President Tiffany Rodriguez, Secretary Gordon Gentry, and members Andrew Besa and Mireya Vanderslice. Member Fernando Garza was absent.
Should the district be unable to reach an agreement with W. R. Griggs Construction, Cone also has the authority to negotiate with Keaton’s next most highly rated general contractor.
By Marly Davis