Alice Campbell Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
The scores for the three construction firms interviewed to build an addition to Highland Park Early Primary School South have been released, illuminating more clearly why local contractor Clausen and Sons Inc. General Contractors were not chosen for the job a decision that has sparked questions from residents about the bid process. Clausen and Sons scored lowest of the three contractors considered, approximately 30 points lower than He l e n a - b a s e d Di c k An d e r s o n Construction Inc. and Great Fallsbased Sletten Companies. Compiled scores were listed as 94.31 percent for Dick Anderson, 90.97 percent for Sletten and 73.3 percent for Clausen and Sons. That difference mainly is because Clausen and Sons used examples of projects from standard bidding processes instead of showing examples of experience with the Construction Manager at Risk process a speedier process than the traditional bid process that allows the schools to fund much of the $1.5 million project with stimulus dollars said Shad Huston, Havre Public Schools Board of Trustees chairman. "There are some similarities, but there's also a lot of differences to those," Huston said. "All the companies are capable of doing (the addition). It's just whether they can do it with the method we chose." The scores were based on presentations by representatives from each contractor and 13 questions, each assigned with different percent values. Individually decided scores from each board member were averaged for the final score, Huston said. During their regularly scheduled October meeting, trustees voted 4 to 2, with Darlene Bricker and Harvey Capellen voting against the motion, to award the bid to Dick Anderson. Sletten received a nomination as well. No discussion of Clausen and Sons occurred. Subcontractor bids have not been sent out yet, and any local contractors wishing to bid will be able to do so, Huston has said. Debi Rhines, who has rallied support for the release of more information and discussion on the board's decision process to clearly show that local tax dollars are being spent prudently, said she's happy that the scores have been released. "I'm very glad I got the data," she said, adding that she's sad about how it reflects on the local contractor. At the same time, "if that's the score they gave a local contractor, that's the score we have to live with," she said. Trustees are moving forward with the process, Huston said, and stand Firmly behind the decision. He said he expects more discussion about what will happen to Highland Park's north campus, which also houses the Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line, in August or September. Keeping the option open to use the north building is necessary if the worst-case scenario of the addition not being finished happens, he said. While he doesn't expect that to occur, having a back-up plan is a good idea, he said. "We're not going to move the kids midstream," he said. "That's not a good learning environment."