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|OPSB reschedules bid opening for Richwood school project|
The Ouachita Parish School Board is expected to open bids next week on the construction project for a new Richwood Middle School.
The school board was scheduled to open bids at its regular meeting Tuesday, but some minor bid specifications needed to be changed. Instead, bids will be open Thursday, Aug. 13.
Cedric Hemphill of Herbert Land Architects told the school board the delay in opening bids should work out in the board's favor.
"Some complications have arisen, but it's a plus for you all with this delay because I believe you all will get a better price," Hemphill said. "There were some contractors hounding us about delaying the project, so it's a plus it did not bid today because of other large projects being bid on in the area."
"We don't have many general contractors in the area who can do a $10 million plus project, and they really needed a little more time with some other projects being bid on today," Hemphill said. "I know it may seem like it is misfortunate, but it will work out in your favor."
The school board estimates the construction of the new middle school will cost roughly $13 million. Once construction begins, it will take about 16 months for the school to be completed, according to school board safety and construction coordinator Ken Slusher.
Hemphill does not anticipate any other delays with the Richwood Middle School project. He said the delay in opening bids will not affect the construction timeframe since the contractor who is awarded the contract won't begin work until after Labor Day.
"It's not unusual for a project this large to have to be delayed for a week," Hemphill explained. "It gives you the opportunity to double check things. We think you all are good to go for next Thursday."
Richwood Middle School along with the Sterlington Elementary School is the two biggest projects Ouachita Parish Schools will tackle over the next year or so.
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Sterlington Elementary School were held in April. That new school will cost roughly $13 million to build, too.
In all, both new school construction projects will total more than $25 million. The projects are being funded by a property tax extension approved by eastern Ouachita Parish voters last year. The property tax extension provided the parish school system with roughly $39 million for construction of the two new schools plus renovations at existing schools in eastern Ouachita.
The school system hopes to have the new schools open by August 2010.