The Warrenton R-III School District is a step closer to establishing a new central office and information technology (IT) hub.
The school board voted last week to award a construction contract for the project to Layneco Construction, O’Fallon.
The board vote was 5 to 1, with Teresa Scott abstaining and Jan Sutherland voting no.
Scottt works for Schraer Heating and Air Conditioning, a potential subcontractor for the project.
“On Wednesday, Feb. 6, we received bids from 10 general contractors,” lead architect Mark Reuther of Hoener Associates, Inc. told the board during the monthly school board meeting last Thursday. “Base bids plus performance bonds ranged from $855,778 to $1,027,318.”
Two-Part Construction Process
The two-part construction project for a new central office and dedicated IT building was initiated to centralize R-III’s technology infrastructure.
All of the school’s computer servers and switches will be located in what is now the district’s central office on Kuhl Avenue, in front of Black Hawk Middle School.
Administrators say the current central office location is ideal for a technology center in part because transformers adjacent to the building would offer reserve power not available in other locations.
Presently, the school’s servers are spread out in six buildings and housed in spaces like broom closets — problematic for equipment that generates heat — and needs to be in a managed, temperature-controlled environment for around-the-clock reliability, leaders have noted.
The new central office will be relocated in unused space in the school’s newly acquired building on Veterans Parkway West that is home to the Early Childhood Special Education program.
The board approved work for three alternate projects in association with the core construction, including installation of offices at the north end and build-out of training space in the central office complex, along with adding cooling to the existing Black Hawk Middle School telephone room and library head data room for the IT space.
With these alternates, total construction for the project comes to $1,127,446.
Reuther said he and others from the architectural firm interviewed low bidder Layneco to go over the bid, talk through details and timelines. He said the interview went well, and noted that Hoener had worked previously with Layneco on construction of the new Wentzville high school.
Good Stewards of Tax Money
Throughout the presentation, some board members pressed Reuther, administrators and Layneco about use of local labor.
“I have a concern, since we are the largest recipient of local Warren County taxes, I would like to see local people be working on this project,” said Sutherland. “They’re paying the taxes for us.”
Reuther said that the architectural firm had asked contractors on bid day for a list of Warren County subcontract labor they would use, and that Layneco had said 100 percent of work would be local.
“Subcontractors have committed to having Warren County employees on the job,” said Steve Layne of Layneco, but he later said this could affect costs depending on which alternates the school selected and if subcontractors for those projects could meet these needs with local workers.
“We’d like to have a realistic and more accurate assessment of how much local labor would be used, knowing that we want to be good stewards of the tax money being used,” said Scott Costello, board vice president.
Layne said that if the district selected the three alternate plans (office and training room build-outs and cooling for telephone room), the percentage of local labor likely would be closer to 85 percent, which would save the district at least $80,000.
Work would begin in March on the build-out on the new administrative offices. Completion is expected by the end of May.
Work on the new technology center would be focused in June and July.