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Board delays high school demolition decision

The word “Bus” has been added to the sign along Spartan Drive next to the Superior High School to get people ready for where the buses will now park starting on Monday April 3. Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com

The Superior School Board approved four contracts Monday for the Superior High School building project, but Board members have one decision left to make.

That decision could affect a local company.

Board members voted 4-0 Monday to table the contract for building demolition. Rachel Contracting, based in St. Michael, Minn., was the low bidder with a base bid of $654,898. Stack Brothers, based in Superior, had the second lowest bid at $705,000.

Project manager Kraus-Anderson recommended the school district award the demolition contract to Rachel Contracting, but School Board members said they needed more information before voting.

"What we’re asking Kraus-Anderson to do is to relook at the companies that bid on this demolition piece and come back to us with the recommendation they feel is right," said Janna Stevens, Superior school district administrator. "We’re asking them to look at it one more time."

Stevens said the contract will not be awarded until the Board’s April 24 meeting, when the second round of contracts for the SHS project will be approved.

"It can’t always come down to a money figure," Stevens said. "You have to look at who’s got the right experience for that job, and then of course if they’re the low bidder, great.

"We need to make sure we have quality companies that are going to do quality work, and that is what the School Board is looking to double-check on this bid — to make sure they feel confident that the decision that was recommended is the right one."

Numerous Stack Brothers employees turned up at Monday’s meeting to plead their case.

Owner William Stack spoke on behalf of the group and urged the Board to seriously consider Stack Brothers.

"Not only are we local — and I know that the Board has a desire to work with local contractors — we are a nine-iron away from the senior high school project," Stack said. "We can be there within minutes. The other competition that we are up against is not local."

Kraus-Anderson’s recommend pick for the contract, Rachel Contracting, is based in St. Michael, Minn., about 30 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

Stack also touted Stack Brothers’ experience modification rate, which reflects a company’s safety record.

The industry average is 1.0, while Stack Brothers’ rate is .61.

"Kraus can tell you what a .61 means in this industry. It’s unheard of," Stack said. "So we take a lot of pride not only in the fact that we employ wonderful, great people, we have excellent equipment, we are right next door to you people, but we bring safety to a totally different level."

Stack added that Stack Brothers employs 85 people who pay property taxes in and around Superior and Douglas County. If Stack Brothers earned the building demolition contract, local people would be used for all subcontracting work, equipment would be purchased and serviced locally and local truckers would be used for hauling.

"We can ensure that we’ll be doing this with all local vendors, suppliers, truckers; and we’ll be employing a lot of other people along with us," Stack said.

The four other contracts awarded Monday totaled $7 million.

Wells Concrete was the lone bidder for the precast concrete work ($2.98 million) and Keller Fence was the only bidder for the fencing contract ($84,598). Wells Concrete is based in Maple Grove, Minn., and Keller Fence is based in Grand Rapids, Minn.

Veit & Company Inc., secured the largest contract — $3.34 million — for earthwork. The Duluth-based company beat out three other competitors, including Stack Brothers.

Veit also won the demolition contract for Cooper Elementary School in late November.

"Everything is going good right now, but keep in mind the major project, the high school — $56 million on the bulk of the whole project — is still to come in," Stevens said.

Plans for the high school may change slightly if bids come in high.

Stevens said several items have been put on a list of alternates that will only be included if the budget allows.

"The biggest alternate that we’ve put in is to say instead of a three-station gym, we’ll make it a two-station gym," Stevens said. "That decision was made because of the larger cost of the softball (field and) the tennis courts.

"So we had to make some adjustments, but it didn’t really change the whole scope of the project."

Stevens said the two-station gym will save about $1 million from the initial plan for a three-station gym.

The new artificial turf softball field and tennis courts drew roughly $2 million from the school district’s $92.5 million referendum.

NOTES: Groundbreaking is still weeks away, but preparations have begun at Superior High School.

Beginning Monday, new bus drop-off and pick-up sites will go into effect. Buses will line up along Spartan Drive, and the previous bus zone will be closed. Parents are asked not to use Spartan Drive when buses are present.

Groundbreaking at both Cooper Elementary School and SHS is scheduled for April 17.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Cooper project will be held at 10 a.m. April 12, and a ceremony for SHS is planned for 10 a.m. April 19.

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