School board moving forward on tornado safe room, HVAC projects

T-R PHOTO BY LANA BRADSTREAM Marshalltown Community School Board members Sean Heitmann, Sara Faltys, Elizabeth Wise and Maria Morales take the oath of office during the regular Monday meeting. All four were elected to office on Nov. 7 and ran unopposed.

Lennox and Larson Construction were both approved by the Marshalltown Community School Board to begin on two different projects during the regular Monday meeting.

Beginning with the construction of the tornado safe room at the Marshalltown High School sports stadium, Director of Buildings and Grounds Todd Goulding told the board the bids were really close in price.

FEH Design President Kevin Eipperle praised the amount of bids received from across the state.

“Seven bidders – that’s really great, especially for this size project,” he said. “That was really nice to see. We’ve got a lot of interest in the project.”

Larson Construction of Independence, which also built the stadium itself, was the lowest bidder at $3.6 million. Eipperle said he would issue notice for Larson to proceed.

Goulding said Larson is anxious to begin.

“They said they’d love to be able to mobilize and get started as soon as they know they can,” he said.

The tornado safe room will provide safety for people attending sporting events in the event of impending natural disasters. In July, the district received a $3.4 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the construction. Eipperle said the project carries special requirements from FEMA, which will be included in the contract with Larson.

One aspect of the project, the storm line, had two alternatives — one built with heavy PVC pipe for a cost of $100,000 and another made of concrete at a cost of $115,000. Goulding said the alternates are included to make improvements to drainage. In a letter to the board, Eipperle said the City of Marshalltown offered to maintain the pipe if it was made with concrete.

Superintendent Theron Schutte highly recommended accepting the PVC alternate.

“It will even better ensure that we’re providing all the protection we can for the neighbors who live just north of the practice field,” he said.

Schutte said the concrete pipe would not provide extra service, so the additional $15,000 cost would not be worth it. Goulding agreed, adding that the diameter of both are the same.

“We’re not having heavy traffic driving over that,” he said. “It will actually run along the north fence line. Rarely [will there be] any vehicles, maybe a mower or one of the district pickups.”

Board President Sean Heitmann asked Director of Business Operations Randy Denham about accepting the bid and PVC alternate and what the district’s out-of-pocket cost would be. He also asked where that leaves the district regarding the Marshalltown High School Career and Technical Education (CTE) wing.

Denham said the district would be in a good position with an $800,000 contingency.

“Technically, we’re about $100,000 or so over budget right now, but when we did the revenue bonds for the CTE project, it also included the tornado-safe room,” Denham said. “Plus, there was cushion for contingencies and any budget changes since we started this process back in late spring, early summer. This will eat into that.”

Eipperle said some of the bidders for the tornado-safe room stayed for the opening of bids for part of the CTE project, which is out for bid now.

HVAC project

After the tornado-safe room approval, Goulding also spoke about the high school HVAC project and recommended accepting a $114,576 quote from Lennox. He said the project will include 10 custom-built rooftop units for the CTE project.

“They worked to get us excellent pricing on all these 10 units,” Goulding said.

Schutte said for the HVAC project, a procurement process in the form of tips from Lennox was used to ensure the district gets fair and competitive pricing.

“I’m very happy and proud that we can make a direct purchase with a local business here and continue to build upon that partnership with Lennox Corporation,” he said.

In other business,

The organizational meeting of the new board was held. New board members Maria Morales and Elizabeth Wise took the oath of office, along with Heitmann and Sara Faltys.

Heitmann was elected board president and Faltys as vice president.

A $3.6 million construction contract was awarded to Larson Construction for the tornado safe room slated to be built by the Marshalltown High School (MHS) sports stadium.

The board learned of the production and silent auction of pottery pieces made by MHS art instructor Kirk Niehouse. The auction will be held from Nov. 20 to Dec. 21. Proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society.

Board members approved donating soup bowls made by Niehouse’s advanced pottery students. The bowls are to be donated to the House of Compassion for a soup luncheon fundraiser.

Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611 ext. 210 or lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.


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