District seeking new bids on next phase of MMS construction


BROOKINGS – The Brookings School District held a special school board meeting on Monday in order to reject the received bids for the next phase of the construction at Mickelson Middle School, and to rebid the phase.

Time was a concern, Brookings School District Superintendent Klint Willert said. Waiting to the next regularly scheduled school board meeting to conduct this business would be too long of a wait and could hamper timely progress with the project.

The school district received three bids total for the project, although one bid was dismissed on account of being submitted a minute after deadline. Of the remaining two, Willert said there was an unusually wide spread between the bid amounts – nearly $5 million.

As it turns out, the company that gave the low bid had an error in its calculations, and they requested that the school district rescind their bid. With only one valid bid remaining – and it was greater than what the district had budgeted – Willert recommended rejecting the bids on account of lack of a competitive bid environment.

According to Willert and School District Business Managers Brian Lueders, the district had budgeted $10.5 million for this phase of the project. The sole remaining valid bid was for $11.6 million, while the rescinded bid was for $6.5 million.

As Willert explained, a spreadsheet error caused the company to submit a bid nearly $3 million lower than it should have been, and due to the nature of the error, the district would not have been able to make the company stick to its submitted bid.

There were some concerns that the bidders would reapply with the posted bids in mind, perhaps giving them each a competitive advantage should they apply again. However, Willert said that rebidding was the proper response all the same in the district’s search for a more competitive bid environment.

The board’s motion to reject the bids received was approved 3-1, with Van Fishback dissenting. School board member Wes Tschetter was absent from the meeting.

The motion to grant the ATS&R, the architect group overseeing the construction project, approval to rebid the bid pack was then approved 4-0.

Advertising for bids will begin today and continue for 10 days. Bids must be received on or before 2 p.m. April 8 at the School District Administration Office.

Contact Eric Sandbulte at esandbulte@brookingsregister.com.