School project bid opening delayed two weeks

Lack of commitment from bidders forces slight setback in construction projects


FORT MADISON – Another slight delay has hit the Fort Madison Community School District facility improvement project.

Bids were supposed to have been opened last week in an afternoon special session of the FMCSD board of directors, but that bid opening was delayed two weeks to allow for more bid interest.

At Monday’s regular meeting of the board, Chris Smith, Vice President of Construction with Carl A. Nelson, told the board the company isn’t getting the commitments they’d like to see for the work.

The district is bidding projects that will ultimately close the current Lincoln and Richardson Elementary buildings and move them into space on the campus of the Fort Madison Middle School. Additionally, 7th and 8th graders will be moved to the Fort Madison High School campus, putting all students on the two campuses.

The Fort Madison Middle School will become a Prek-6th grade facility and the high school will house 7th-12th grades.

“There’s more people on the fence than what we’d like,” Smith said Monday.

“We’d like more people to be firm commitments. It’s just a sign of the busy market right now. It’s our hope that with this two-week extension will give people some time to work on it, and attract more bidders.”

In August, Carl A. Nelson informed the board that the project, which was originally slated to begin this summer, had to be delayed about a year due to pandemic-related supply chain issues. Procuring materials for construction work has been an issue globally, but the project is still planned for an Aug. 2024 completion.

The first phase of the construction, which includes getting all the students into the two facilities, is estimated to cost around $25 million. Additional phases of improvements to the facilities are also under consideration and would require other funding mechanisms to implement.

In other action, the board:
• approved master contracts with the Fort Madison Education Association, and bargaining agreements with the Teamsters Units and AFSCME. Board member Brad Menke voted against all the agreements after asking to have them all tabled for further discussion.
•approved salary lists and supplemental salary schedules for the 2022-23 school year.

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