ROTELLA: ‘A quarter of a billion dollars on brand new schools’

Johnston School Building Committee awards $40M+ in construction contracts for new elementary

As site-work progresses, plans for groundbreaking ceremony still not set (although ground has already been broken)

Warwick Beacon ·

The Johnston School Building Committee has so far awarded more than $40 million in contracts to Rhode Island firms for the construction the town’s new elementary center.

 “This is pretty exciting,” said School Building Committee Chairman Joseph Rotella. “We’re getting to the point where things will start getting delivered to the site.”

On Tuesday, March 26, the committee met to award bid packages for integral contracts like plumbing, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and electrical services at the site.

Crews have cleared the site of trees and may be ready to start the foundation soon.

Justin Bernard, Senior Project Manager with Colliers Project Leaders, told the committee that they had “very important recommendations to reward” on Tuesday night. The committee had begun accepting major bids about a week earlier but was informed they’d need to gather again to approve a second list of bid packages.

The school has roughly $80 million on hand, the first chunk of a $215 million voter-approved school construction bond.

 “All of these have been scrutinized; competitively bid; scope reviews performed with Colliers, the design team, and Gilbane, the construction manager before a selection was made,” Bernard told the committee.

The evening’s first bid package was for “miscellaneous metals (steel),” at which was awarded to Capco Steel Erection Co., of Providence (the $485,000 bid package came in at $471,676 under budget).

“We’re saving money,” Rotella told the committee. “Something else I noticed; these are all Rhode Island companies that we’re awarding tonight. It’s really nice to know that Rhode Island companies are getting Rhode Island work.”

Bernard recommended awarding Delta Mechanical Contractors, LLC, of Warwick, the project’s plumbing bid package for $2,412,300 (nearly $400,000 under budget).

“This one was incredibly competitive,” Bernard said.

Rotella noted that only $8,200 separated the two best bids.

“We know we definitely got the right price on this one,” Bernard said.

The HVAC contract was also awarded to Delta Mechanical Contractors, for $7,415,4000 ($1,716,056 under budget).

The biggest contract of the night, for Electrical/Tel Data & Audio Visual Systems & Security, was awarded to Rossi Electric Co., LLC, of Cranston, for $9,194, 500 ($307,064 over budget).

Bid contracts awarded previously included: cast-in-place concrete, $3,430,100 to Marguerite Concrete, Inc. of Hopedale, Massachusetts ($374,215 under budget); structural steel, $4,267,000 to Shepard Steel Co., Inc., of Hartford, Connecticut ($1,210,687 under budget); spray fire-proofing, $395,630 to H. Carr & Sons, LLC, of Providence ($154 under budget); food service equipment, $755,025 to Johnston-Lancaster and Associates Inc., of Taunton, Mass. ($20,542 under budget); fire protection, $900,000 to Aero Mechanical, Inc., of Johnston ($100,562 under budget); and site work, $10,550,000 to DiGregorio Corporation, of Smithfield ($1,552,863 over budget).

“Overall, the project is doing extremely well as it relates to the original budget,” Bernard said. “I can’t stress enough that we’re very lucky that we’re on to construction now. We’re going to have some difficulties, and we’re looking at the high school next year.”

The town still hopes to build a new Johnston High School. Current plans call for maintaining the school’s gymnasium, and constructing a new high school between the indoor gym and the football field (then razing the old school).

“There’s going to be, probably, a billion or more dollars in construction going on in 2025 being awarded just in K-12 schools,” Bernard said. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

Although the ground has already been broken, school and town officials hope to soon schedule a “ground-breaking ceremony” at the site of the new elementary school. The date has yet to be announced.

“This is such a huge thing,” Rotella said. Rotella serves as chairman of the School Building Committee and Vice-Chairman of the town’s School Committee. “It’s a quarter billion dollars we’re going to spend on new schools in this town. I don’t think people really grasp how unbelievable that is. A quarter of a billion dollars on brand new schools … We’re so excited to see these things go up … It’s really an exciting time.”

This story was originally posted by Warwick Beacon. Click here to view the original story in its entirety.