C.D. Smith Construction chosen by PW-S board to manage $49.4 million improvement initiative
The Port Washington-Saukville School Board decided Monday to enter into a contract worth more than $2 million with Fond du Lac-based C.D. Smith Construction Inc. to manage its $49.4 million school improvement initiative.
The board chose C.D. Smith over Milwaukee-based CG Schmidt to serve as the construction manager for a complex $45.6 million Port Washington High School project that will include demolishing and rebuilding part of the school, the construction of two additions and renovations throughout the remainder of the school, as well as a $3.8 million addition to Dunwiddie Elementary School.
School officials considered the selection of a construction management firm a critical early step in the process, especially since the firm will oversee the day-to-day work on a high school project that is to span nearly four years and be done while students are at school.
Cost was a significant factor, but with both firms proposing similar fees and charges, school board members chose the firm they said would be the best fit for the district.
Several board members noted that C.D. Smith is currently working on a project in the Lomira School District that, although about half the cost of the Port High project, is similar because it entails demolishing and rebuilding part of a school.
“It’s appealing to me that C.D. Smith will be coming off a build so similar to ours,” board president Carey Gremminger said.
C.D. Smith proposed a construction management fee of $685,000 compared to CG Schmidt’s fee of $710,921.
The most expensive aspect of the contract, however, is the general conditions charges — hourly rates for on-site supervisors and, in some cases, charges for equipment and supplies ranging from portable toilets and fire extinguishers to fencing and mobile offices. District officials estimated the general condition charges of C.D. Smith will total $1.4 million while CG Schmidt’s charges would be $1.3 million over the duration of the project.
When additional fees and performance bonds proposed by each company are considered, C.D. Smith’s proposal was about $10,000 less expensive, school officials estimated.
Of particular concern to school officials was how each firm proposed handling change orders. CG Schmidt proposed a 1.69% fee on work outside of the original proposal while C.D. Smith proposed no additional fee, school officials said.
If, for instance, the project were finished under budget and there was money remaining to make “project enhancements,” CG Schmidt would charge a 1.69% fee to manage the additional work while C.D. Smith would not as long as the overall cost of the project did not exceed the budget, Supt. Michael Weber said.
“It was unusual to see a percentage fee for change orders, and it’s something we spent a lot of time figuring out,” he said.
The board is expected to approve a contract with C.D. Smith, as well as an agreement with Bray Architects, which the board decided in April to hire without seeking competitive bids, next month.