SAD 28 Board will meet with low bidder May 21 to review costs

UPDATED: Camden middle school construction bids come in millions over budget

By Susan Mustapich | May 16, 2018
Photo by: Susan Mustapich SAD 28 Superintendent Maria Libby, third from left, opens and reads out loud the costs of two construction bids for the new Camden Rockprt Middle School May 16.

CAMDEN — Two construction bids for the new Camden-Rockport Middle School opened 2 p.m. May 16 at the SAD 28 central office came in millions of dollars over the $22.3 million budgeted for the project.

The bid from Ledgewood Construction of South Portland came in at $28,147,700. The bid from PC Construction, headquartered in Vermont, came in at $29,787,000.

Superintendent Maria Libby said on May 16 that she was disappointed that the bids came in higher than expected. She said the school board would have to figure out what the next steps are. The costs of materials have gone up since this process started, she said, and there are other school construction projects being bid out this month.

On May 17, Libby said in an email that the CRMS Building Committee and SAD 28 Board "recognized the need for the administration, owner's rep, architect, and low bidder to meet so that we can better understand where the bid costs differ from the budgeted amounts."

Until the meeting with low bidder Ledgewood Construction takes place on May 21, she said, "we really don't know what the reality of our options are."

"The best case scenario is that a donor(s) steps forward to cover the difference and the worst case scenario is that we will not be able to build a new middle school," she said.

Libby believes that there are many options in between the best and worst case scenarios. Once the board has a better idea of the cost differences between the project budget and the Ledgewood bid, all options about how to best move forward will be considered she said.

At this time, the Board does not know what, if any, impacts there will be to the project timeframe, delays, or plan for the groundbreaking, she said.

SAD 28's bid requests went out in mid-April to four pre-qualified general contractors, according to Libby's May report to the school board. Two of the companies, Sheridan and Landry French, pulled out of the process because of other projects.

Education construction work constitutes a substantial portion of Ledgewood's portfolio, according to the company's website. The portfolio includes new school construction, renovation and additions in Maine, including the Islesboro Central School.

PC Construction has a portfolio of new learning facilities, renovations and energy and infrastructure upgrades on college and high school campuses. The porfolio includes an addition to South Portland High School and a central heating plant expansion at Colby College.

Comments (4)
Posted by: Barry Douglas Morse | May 19, 2018 10:55

Kudos to the district.  Meeting with a bidder to better understand their bid is the most rational next step.  Having a disinterested expert confidentially audit the bid details to inform next steps might also be informative.


On the other hand, jumping straight to a new round of design and bidding would be costly and might lead to the same busted-bid surprise at the other end.

Posted by: Joshua Gerritsen | May 17, 2018 10:09

Or perhaps this is the time for the school board to consider using the Mary E. Taylor building as the foundation for the new middle school? Renovate MET and build an addition that covers all of their needs?

Posted by: Jeff Sukeforth | May 17, 2018 10:03

Imagine that. But then again it's only money right? Perhaps a few things should be cut from the planning, do we really need an auditorium for events when the school gym works fine. Maybe some further choices need to be looked at very hard and closely.

Posted by: Dale E. Landrith Sr. | May 17, 2018 07:54

Millions over budget does not even come close to describing the bids.  They are more than 25% over budget.Be careful school board.

This should completely shelve the idea of keeping the old Mary Taylor building.

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