Hewlett-Spencer was recommended by the school board on a 3-1 vote Monday to be awarded the contract for the construction of the new school despite a continuing controversy surrounding the bid process in which four construction companies, including Hardaway, were told to bid on specifications as submitted and Hewlett-Spencer was allowed to submit a bid based on a number specification changes.
Among the changes on which Hewlett-Spencer based its bid were a reduction in the size of the structure, a removal of some of the lighting, the substitution of certain materials regarded as less expensive for a portion of the flooring and other changes to include the removal of a requirement in the specifications for geothermal heating and cooling, an expensive alternative to conventional systems.
Hardaway and other contractors participating in the bid process cried foul saying that the bid procedure was not conducted fairly and that Hewlett-Spencer was given an unfair advantage when it was allowed to change the plans for the building while they were required to bid on the specifications as prescribed by the architects.
Nonetheless the school board favored Hewlett-Spencer at its meeting Monday night with only board member Lisa McMillin voting in opposition.
Hardaway’s latest move now conflicts the matter even more as now Hardaway is being positioned with a bid lower than Hewlett-Spencer’s. When bids were opened initially, Hardaway’s bid was the lowest among the contractors who submitted bids based on the guidelines set out in the bid process.
Sloan tells county officials in his letter that “Since the bid documents did not offer a means for us to provide value engineering althernates at the time of our bid, we are now providing a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for your consideration.
“We realize that the School Board has verbally recommended that this project be awarded to Hewlett-Spencer, pending approval of financing, based on their proposal for a significantly reduced scope of work than was included in the bid documents for this project. It is unfortunate for the bidders of this project, and the Citizens of Wilson County, that the School Board chose to invite only one firm (Hewlett-Spencer) to provide a GMP proposal, giving them the freedom to make significant design changes; while other bidders were instructed, by the bid documents, to bid this school project exactly as designed.”
Sloan concludes his letter requesting a meeting with the school board and an opportunity to present “an itemized list of changes” for the new school as proposed by Hardaway Construction.