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School construction bids come in lower than expected

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There was a lot of nail biting and speculation, but bids came in lower than expected on several school projects, making way for the recently approved $49 million bond to stretch further.

The bids for the new middle school came in at $190 per square foot, and $205 per square foot for the Morgan High School addition, much lower than the $250 per square foot the contractor, Hogan Construction, was fearing.  It was even near or under the $200-212 Hogan put in their original budget estimate.

“This is a great deal.  We will not see another $190 ever again,” said John Cox of Hogan Construction, because building projects are only increasing and subcontractors’ schedules are filling up fast.  As schedules get full, prices go up.  Morgan strategically timed their bid process.  “To receive this kind of a bid, I am very pleased.”

Hogan Construction recently bid on a $20 million school project in Salt Lake that came in at $250 per square foot.  “That project made a lot of us nervous.  We all wondered if we would all have to go back to the drawing board,” because they knew the $49 million was a fixed cost, Cox said.  “When we saw the $250 square foot price,” we wondered if “all the preparation to make sure we had a good bid at a good time of the year was all for naught.”

The lower-than-expected bids will make way for more building.

At the new middle school in Mountain Green, there may now be enough money to “shell in” two classroom pods, making way for future growth with 16 classrooms.  The classrooms will remain unfinished until the district budgets money for additional work.

At Morgan High, four items on the wish-list may be realized including a new fire alarm system for the entire school, upgrades to the main parking lot on the eastern side of the building, an upgrade to the intercom system in the older part of the building, and the installation of a water line looping around the entire building as required by the fire marshal.

“I commend the board–as a community member and taxpayer, not just a contractor—for the effort you made to make sure you receive the best pricing,” Cox said.  “Many in the community may not know the effort you did with proper planning, finding the solution with the best value, hiring an architect that listened to you.”

He said the outcome will be projects that are “institutional, not extravagant.”

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