education

The Belgrade School Board will hold a special meeting tomorrow morning, June 28, to approve the architectural contract for design of the new elementary school and to establish the method by which it will select a contractor for the school’s construction.

The board is expected to award the $1.489 million dollar design contract to A&E Architects of Billings, which was ranked no. 1 by a committee that evaluated the seven architectural bids received, said Superintendent Godfrey Saunders.

The bids for architectural services were solicited under the Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) method, which also is one of the options being considered for contractor bids, Saunders said.

An informational summary provided for the board by consultant Bryan Tate lists the advantages of the CM/GC method as very good cost estimating in the early stages of a project; providing the best collaborative team structure; ensuring that a contractor is chosen primarily on qualifications rather than price; and enabling a faster transition from design documents to the start of construction.

The other method the board will consider for soliciting construction bids is Design/Bid/Build, also known as the “Low Bid” option, the greatest advantage 

of which is that it can result in the lowest total construction cost, according to Tate’s report.

Voters approved a $48 million bond issue for the new elementary school in February. Saunders said the target date for opening the building is fall 2021, so the district has a very short time to move through the design and construction processes.

Also on the agenda is an update on discussions about Bolinger Road development. The new elementary will be located on Bolinger, which currently is graveled and will require significant improvements before the school opens. Residential developers of nearby planned subdivisions eventually will contribute to the cost of the road development, but because the school may be built first, the district could be on the hook for more up-front money than originally budgeted through the bond issue. Officials from the city, county and state Department of Transportation, as well as the school district, have been evaluating options recently.

The meeting will be held at 7 a.m. in the Belgrade Administration Board Room.