Written by BILL SCHANEN IV
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 18:48
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.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs appealing to me that C.D. Smith will be coming off a build so similar to ours,‚ÄĚ board president Carey Gremminger said.
C.D. Smith proposed a construction management fee of $685,000 compared to CG Schmidt‚Äôs fee of $710,921.
The most expensive aspect of the contract, however, is the general conditions charges ‚ÄĒ 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúproject enhancements,‚ÄĚ 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.
‚ÄúIt was unusual to see a percentage fee for change orders, and it‚Äôs something we spent a lot of time figuring out,‚ÄĚ 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.
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 19:39
Former teacher, board member tells PW-S officials they should hire clerk to supervise $49.4 referendum project
The Port Washington-Saukville School Board plans to select a construction management firm to oversee its $49.4 million school improvement initiative next week, but in the interim it received some advice from an architect who is no stranger to the district.
Barrett Genson, a former Port Washington High School teacher and school board member who most recently served as director of facilities planning during the development of Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla., told school officials during Monday‚Äôs board meeting that they should hire a clerk of the works to oversee the project and represent the interests of the board and taxpayers.
‚ÄúHiring someone independent of the architect and the construction manager who works just for you may alleviate some of the consternation the public, including the Common Council president, has expressed about how the architect was hired,‚ÄĚ said Genson, who added that he essentially served as a clerk of the works during construction of the Florida university.
Genson was referring to criticism the board has received for deciding to hire Bray Architects, the firm that conceived the most expensive referendum in the history of the district, to design improvements at Port High and Dunwiddie Elementary School without seeking competitive bids.
Last week, Ald. Dan Becker, president of the Port Washington Common Council, said the school board‚Äôs actions ‚Äúdidn‚Äôt pass the smell test.‚ÄĚ
Genson agreed, saying, ‚ÄúIt doesn‚Äôt seem right to hire an architect for a $49.4 million project without going through a selection process.‚ÄĚ
A clerk of the works, who would report directly to the board and administrators, would ensure the additions and renovations planned for the two schools are built to specifications and are completed within the budget and on time, Genson said.
In addition, a clerk of the works would settle any disagreements between the architect and construction manager, something that‚Äôs important given the complexity of the high school project, he said.
‚ÄúForty-nine million dollars of construction is enormous,‚ÄĚ Genson said. ‚ÄúYou‚Äôre going to have a tough row to hoe accomplishing this while keeping school open.
‚ÄúOn a project of this size, there are going to be conflicts, and you‚Äôre going to want a clerk of the works to represent you and settle them.‚ÄĚ
Supt. Michael Weber, however, said it will be the job of the construction manager to oversee day-to-day construction and report directly to school officials.
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs what we‚Äôre hiring a construction manager for, but we appreciate his (Genson‚Äôs) willingness to be available to help us,‚ÄĚ Weber said. ‚ÄúSomeone with Barrett‚Äôs experience will be valuable.‚ÄĚ
The board is currently considering proposals from two finalists for the construction manager job ‚ÄĒ Fond du Lac-based C.D. Smith Construction Inc. and Milwaukee-based CG Schmidt.
Administrators and school board member Marchell Longstaff recently toured a CG Schmidt job site at Hartford High School and a C.D. Smith project in the Lomira School District.
‚ÄúBoth companies are very professional,‚ÄĚ Weber said. ‚ÄúThey truly are the owner‚Äôs person; they answer to the owner, not the architect.
‚ÄúWe can‚Äôt go wrong with either of them.‚ÄĚ
School officials have also made progress in clarifying the fees proposed by each of the firms.
CG Schmidt has proposed a management fee of $692,647 plus 1.69% on change orders.
C.D. Smith has proposed a fee of $685,000 with no additional charge for change orders.
Less clear, however, are the general condition charges ‚ÄĒ hourly rates for various supervisors and, in some cases, job site equipment such as portable toilets and on-site offices ‚ÄĒ which hinge on the duration of the project. Conceptual plans estimate it will take four years to complete the high school work.
The board met in closed session Monday to develop a negotiating strategy and expects to have final proposals to choose from when it meets Monday, May 18.
In related news, administrators said Monday that quick action by school officials to borrow $33 million of the $49.4 million less than two weeks after the referendum has saved about $900,000 in interest costs. That‚Äôs because interest rates have increased since then.
Fearing that would be the case, Director of Business Services Jim Froemming worked with the district‚Äôs financial firm, Baird, to finalize details for the sale of bonds prior to the referendum, so if the referendum passed the board could act quickly to take advantage of low interest rates.
‚ÄúAll of us knew how tenuous the market was,‚ÄĚ Weber said. ‚ÄúAlmost immediately after the referendum we were able to lock into a 3.2% rate.‚ÄĚ
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 19:13
Officials authorize creating ordinance after residents express concerns about existing facility
Town of Port Washington officials Monday authorized their planner and town attorney to draw up an ordinance that would limit where sex offenders could live.
But officials cautioned that, even though their actions are a response to concerns voiced by residents who live near a facility where a registered sex offender lives, any new law would not affect that situation.
That‚Äôs because the man in question already lives in the home, they said.
‚ÄúWe could have an ordinance tomorrow and it wouldn‚Äôt change anything up there,‚ÄĚ Town Chairman Jim Melichar said.
Board members said Monday they are looking at ordinances used by other communities to pattern one for the township.
‚ÄúThe biggest concern is how changeable it would be,‚ÄĚ Melichar said.
Town Supr. Jim Rychtik said, ‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt want to create something that‚Äôs in conflict with state law.‚ÄĚ
Many of the ordinances used in other communities limit the places where registered sex offenders live to areas more than 1,000 feet from parks and similar public areas, board members said. But, they said, there are still plenty of questions to be answered.
One important question, officials said, is whether natural areas such as the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve or the Sauk Creek Nature Preserve would be considered public parks, since they are owned and operated by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust.
The Ozaukee Interurban Trail is another question, they said, noting it is used by bicyclists of all ages.
‚ÄúWe need to figure out what we can regulate under state statutes and what we have in the town that falls within those guidelines,‚ÄĚ Rychtik said, otherwise any ordinance drawn up may be moot.
Supr. Mike Didier also questioned the definition of a sex offender.
‚ÄúIs it the guy who streaked the baseball game when he was 17 years old and there was a 14-year-old in the stands?‚ÄĚ he asked.
The town can‚Äôt regulate sex offenders so tightly that there is no where for them to live, officials noted.
‚ÄúOur business is trying to create a safe community,‚ÄĚ Rychtik said.
The Town of Port is not the only community in Ozaukee County grappling with the issue. The Town of Cedarburg is expected to take up the issue, Didier said, noting every community in the county except for the townships and the City of Port already have an ordinance regulating where sex offenders can live.
The issue of housing sex offenders came before the board last month when more than a dozen residents living near Upper Forest Beach Road told officials they are concerned for their safety.
Monica Reyes, CEO of Abundance of Life, which has operated what she called an adult family home for people with disabilities at 4870 Upper Forest Beach Rd. for more than a year, said in an interview that one of the three residents is a registered sex offender who has completed his jail time and is under supervision.
Her agency works within guidelines established by probation and parole officials to protect the safety of the residents, staff and community, Reyes said.
‚ÄúWe have protocols in place for that,‚ÄĚ she said.
The Plan Commission could take up the proposed ordinance as soon as its Wednesday, May 13, meeting.
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 21:33
Addressing unexplained food shortage will be priority for Port Washington agency‚Äôs new director
The shelves of the Port Washington Food Pantry are running woefully low, and officials from the agency are seeking help to fill them.
Filling them will be the first order of business for new director Chris Flint of Port Washington, who on Friday, May 1, will replace longtime administrator Joy Dreier, who retired in January.
That job will be made a little easier Saturday, May 9, when the postal carriers hold their annual food drive. People are asked to put donations next to their mailbox, where they will be picked up by mail carriers and brought to the Food Pantry.
Last year‚Äôs drive brought in 8,200 pounds of food ‚ÄĒ enough to last the Pantry about 3-1/2 weeks, said Bob Dreier, president of the Food Pantry board of directors.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs unbelievable. The shelves are really low,‚ÄĚ said longtime volunteer Cathy Schowalter, who has been filling in for Joy Dreier. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs the lowest I‚Äôve ever seen them.
‚ÄúI really hope people realize the need we have for food.‚ÄĚ
Clients at the Pantry are given bags of food, and in recent weeks she‚Äôs had to buy far more than normal to make sure the bags are full, Schowalter said.
Joy Dreier said it‚Äôs typical to see the shelves run low later in the year, since food drives aren‚Äôt generally held in summer, but this is earlier than normal.
She‚Äôs not sure why, but noted that the director of Family Sharing told her they are facing the same issue.
Schowalter noted that new clients are coming to the Pantry every week.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve had so many new clients this year,‚ÄĚ Schowalter said. ‚ÄúYour heart goes out to them hearing their situations. It really makes you realize how good you have it.‚ÄĚ
The Food Pantry has been serving about 97 families each week, Bob Dreier said, adding that the agency‚Äôs client list has 242 registered families representing 667 individuals.
Flint, a New York native, will become only the third director of the Food Pantry.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm excited , anxious, nervous,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúI have big shoes to fill.‚ÄĚ
Flint, who has a degree in math, spent much of her career in the retail sector in New York, Chicago, Massachusetts and Milwaukee.
In 2007, she lost her job to downsizing after the company she was working for was bought out. That same year, her husband died.
Looking for a job, she had a flash of inspiration while reading the newspaper one day.
‚ÄúI thought, ‚ÄėI can be a Realtor. Why not?‚Äô‚ÄĚ Flint said.
She went to school and became a real estate agent with Realty Executives.
She retired last year.
‚ÄúI loved the challenge, but you reach a point where you say, ‚ÄėEnough,‚Äô‚ÄĚ Flint said.
That‚Äôs not to say she sat at home waiting for her next opportunity. Flint is the treasurer of the Port Washington Womans Club, is active at St. Peter of Alcantara Catholic Church, where she is an usher, Eucharistic minister and member of the cluster council, and does some work at the Ozaukee
Flint didn‚Äôt volunteer at the Food Pantry, but after Joy Dreier retired and no one stepped forward to fill her post, board member Phil Groothousen approached her to see if she would be interested in the job.
She‚Äôs now working with the Dreiers to learn the job.
‚ÄúMy goal is just to make sure we keep going and serving the people who need our help,‚ÄĚ Flint said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a shame so many people need us.‚ÄĚ
That‚Äôs been the goal since the Food Pantry was formed in 1982, Joy Dreier said. At that time, Ellie Schiff, who worked at Cope Services, recognized the need because of the large number of calls related to hunger she received at the hotline.
She came to the St. Peter‚Äôs Parish Council and presented a plant to start a food pantry, asking parishioners to bring a food item to Mass each week to help the hungry, Joy Dreier said.
Working through the county‚Äôs Social Services Department, the priest initially handed out bags of food to people who sought them. Later, she and Schiff would come in on Tuesdays to organize things.
Eventually the operation moved to the basement of the rectory, where it continues to open its doors to those in need on Tuesday mornings. Eighty-four volunteers staff the Pantry.
‚ÄúIt all seems simplistic, but it worked,‚ÄĚ said Joy Dreier, who took over as administrator of the Food Pantry in 1984. ‚ÄúIt grew and grew and grew.‚ÄĚ
Image information: CHRIS FLINT (left) will succeed Joy Dreier (right) as director of the Port Washington Food Pantry this week. Photo by Sam Arendt