High school’s $58.3-million price tag ‘staggering’

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By Rick Hazeltine

Despite severe sticker shock, the Oxnard Union High School District board of trustees voted 4-0 at its meeting Wednesday to proceed with the construction of Rancho Campana High School at a cost of about $58 million, nearly 20 percent more than anticipated.

“It’s certainly a staggering amount,” said trustee Gary Davis.

Trustee John Alamillo was absent.

Steve Dickinson, district assistant superintendent of administrative services, told the board they expect the cost to be lowered after the project’s general contractor, Bakersfield-based S.C. Anderson, reviews 10 to 12 proposals for bids, such as electrical work, that the firm believes were too high and either renegotiates or requests new bids.

There is no guarantee the $58.3-million price tag, called the guaranteed maximum price, will be reduced, but rebidding will not cause the GMP to increase, Dickinson said. District staff will return to the board in April with an updated GMP.

“We’re hoping it will be substantially less,” he said.

Despite a cost higher than the $49 million the board expected, trustees voted to approve a Notice to Proceed, which means the district will sign a contract with S.C. Anderson and construction will begin within the next two weeks.

Dickinson said he believes the higher-than-expected price was caused by several factors, the most significant being an agreement the board signed with labor unions to use predominantly local union workers. A representative of S.C. Anderson said local nonunion subcontractors called and said they would not bid on the project because of the agreement. The representative said fewer bidders usually equates to higher prices.

2014-02-14 / Community

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