The Fort Smith Public School Board of Education on Monday (June 10) approved to execute $64 million in contracts with three companies for significant new construction at Northside and Southside High Schools.
Steve Sparling, project manager of the Vision 2023 High School projects, on behalf of the RFQ review committee, recommended awarding the Northside High School project to Conway-based Nabholz Construction and the Southside High School millage project to Turn Key Construction of Fort Smith and Baldwin & Shell Construction of Rogers as a joint venture.
Fort Smith voters approved a 5.558 millage increase for Fort Smith public schools in 2018. The new rate is expected to raise $120.822 million, $35 million of which will go toward district-wide safety improvements. Other noteworthy items to be funded with the millage is a new $13.724 million Career and Technology Center featuring specialized lab spaces and classrooms for courses in healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing and additions and improvements to both Northside and Southside high schools which will include new freshman academies and new gyms at both.
The NHS project will include a 12-classroom freshman center addition, a new secure entry that will lead to new administration offices, a new competition gym with seating for 2,300 plus an integrated storm shelter, cafeteria renovation and more, said Jay Kirkpatrick, senior program manager at Hoar Program Management (HPM) of Dallas, the project manager hired by the school district. The construction budget for the project is $29 million.
The SHS project also will include a 12-classroom freshman center addition and new competition gym with seating for 2,300 and an integrated storm shelter, along with a new standalone storm shelter, cafeteria renovation, media center renovation, new administrative office addition and possible South Gym renovation, Kirkpatrick said. The construction budget for the project is $35 million.
Both projects will operate under a construction manager at risk delivery model because of the size and complexity of the projects. The construction manager will be part coordinator and part contractor. They will work with designers and architects in pre-planning phases and then once all is determined.
“Nabholz Construction is one of the leading K-12 facility constructor in Arkansas. Education related projects comprise nearly 50% of (its) annual volume resulting in unmatched experience in both current and local market data,” Sparling said. “On average, Nabholz delivers 85% of annual production volume utilizing the construction management delivery method, meaning Nabholz fully understands CMAR and is staffed accordingly.
Sparling was equally complimentary of Turn Key Construction Management and Baldwin Shell.
“Baldwin and Shell, along with Turn Key Construction Management have performed over 500 school projects, including 12 for the Fort Smith Public School System. Together, they have 84 years of combined experience,” he said. “Their credentials are very impressive. We feel they are a good choice for us.”
The board praised the choice of companies the committee recommended for the projects.
“The board has asked you to try do local as much as you can, and you did,” Board President Susan McFerran said.
Sandy Dixon, president and owner of Turn Key Construction Management said she was excited to work on another FSPS project and to be working with Baldwin and Shell.
“I’ve got a great team. … We are just excited about making sure this is the best possible project ever,” Dixon said. “My headquarters is in Fort Smith, and this is where my children have gone to school. I’m just excited to work in a wonderful community like Fort Smith.”
In other business, the board approved adding another year to the contract of Dr. Doug Brubaker, FSPS superintendent, extending it to the year 2022. The approved contract includes a salary of $215,292, which “reflects an increase equal to an average of the percentage salary adjustment awarded to district certified staff for 2019-2020,” McFerran said, noting Brubaker refused a salary increase in 2018. Brubaker’s new contract will take effect July 1.