Steamboat schools ramping up contracts for summer construction | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat schools ramping up contracts for summer construction

FCI Constructors, with offices in Grand Junction, has been selected to refurbish Gardner Athletic Field at Steamboat Springs High School where the running track, bleachers and all-weather turf need to be replaced.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs School Superintendent Brad Meeks told the school board Jan. 22 the construction firm FCI Constructors, with offices in Grand Junction, has been chosen as the general contractor  for two key pieces of the school district's summer 2018 construction project dedicated to cleaning up long-deferred maintenance on school facilities and buildings.

"We hit the ground running right after the (Nov. 7, 2017) election," Meeks said.

Project manager Colleen Kaneda of NV5, the district's building consultant, told Steamboat Today that FCI is highly reliable and has worked on many public school projects.

Kaneda said FCI will tackle the refurbishing of Gardner Athletic Field, with a scope of work that includes replacing the all-weather turf field and the surface of the running track, as well as replacing unsafe bleachers at the facility adjacent to Steamboat Springs High School. FCI was also chosen to take on the job of modernizing heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems at Steamboat Springs Middle School.

Currently, FCI is working under a $43,200 contract for pre-construction services only on the two projects. The larger contract won’t be finalized until design documents are complete in March or April. From there, Kaneda estimates it will take FCI about three weeks to provide the “guaranteed maximum price.”

In summer 2017, the district and its consultant estimated the cost of the work at the athletic field at $3.6 million. The work at the middle school was estimated at $4 million.

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FCI has specific experience with athletic fields that could serve Steamboat Springs High School well. The construction company completed the Lincoln Park Stadium Improvement project, which included the design-build renovation of an athletic complex combining Sam Suplizio Field for baseball and Ralph Stocker Stadium for football and track.

FCI will also take on the job of modernizing heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems at Steamboat Springs Middle School. The estimated budget for the middle school project talked about by school officials was about $4 million.

Kaneda added that she is working with the school administration to pursue a Colorado Department of Education Best Grant — Building Excellent Schools Today — to offset some of the cost of another maintenance project that would replace roofs on five district buildings. A decision was made, she said, to limit the grant application to the three school buildings involved to increase the odds the grant will be awarded.

The $3.36 million project for the five buildings has already been split among three contractors.

Meeks said the district has also been working with two local companies as it anticipates the work at Gardner Field, Four Points Surveying and Engineering and the geotechnical environmental engineering firm, Northwest Colorado Consultants.

Bond sale generates premium

In related news, school district Finance Director Mark Rydberg told the school board that the sale of the bonds associated with the $12.9 million bond issue and  approved by the voters in November 2017 exceeded expectations.

"It was extremely successful for us,” Rydberg said, with 6.5 times more "subscriptions," than there were bonds available, "so that's very good. I think we were oversold in the first 20 or 30 minutes."

The high demand meant that the bonds sold for more than their face value, a reflection of the fact that the final price of bonds when they are offered to investors can be highly volatile. In this case, Steamboat School District bonds sold above their "par" value, in part, because of the high demand. The result generated a premium over the original value of $12.9 million for the district – the proceeds amounted to $14.2 million.

"There is that additional money that isn't costing the taxpayers," School Board President Joey Andrew observed.

"This give us a little bit of a cushion to get those projects done the way we told the voters we would," Meeks agreed.

Rydberg said the man at RBC Capital Markets, who managed the bond offering on behalf of the school district, was certain that the sole reason the modest $12.9 million offering was so popular was the simple fact that the words "Steamboat Springs" were attached to it.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.