District to use alternative method on Clarkes renovation
Having received a $2.5 million grant for seismic upgrades at Clarkes Elementary, Molalla River School District is now beginning the process of putting those dollars to use.
MRSD has hired ZCS Engineering & Architecture to help renovate the school. Matt Smith, from the firm, went before the school board Sept. 26 to request using an alternative method to procure the contractor for the project, which is set to begin in June and be complete by August.
"Our firm has used what is called a construction manager/general contractor alternative method very successfully on over 100 seismic grants similar to Clarkes's," Smith said.
The alternative method simply involves hiring a general contractor based not only on estimated costs but also on qualifications, and it involves hiring the contractor earlier on in the process to allow for collaboration. This is opposed to the traditional method in which the firm completes the design drawings, puts it out for bid and then hires the contractor.
"One of the places where this procurement method works best is when you have a highly complex project with a very shortened time frame," said Rick Gill, the school district's business manager. "And that's exactly what we're looking at here. It's a very challenging situation when you're doing a seismic rehab and you're trying to make sure it's all done by August when you're starting in June."
Smith said the project is complex not only because it involves seismic rehabilitation, but also because the school has several additions completed by different builders using different materials.
"Imagine if you go by the traditional process," Gill said, "and they have gone through and they have designed this. Now you go out in the spring and you hire the contractor and they start looking at the plans and they say, 'This won't work, this won't work and this won't work.'"
By that point, board member Craig Loughridge pointed out, it could be too late to change plans and the project could get significantly delayed.
Board member Calvin Nunn asked Smith if the alternative method gives the district a better chance of coming in on budget.
"On budget and on schedule," Smith said.
The board decided unanimously to support pursuing the alternative method.
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