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A familiar firm will have the responsibility for constructing a new addition to Middletown Prairie.
On Monday night, the school board voted to accept a bid from Broeren Russo for construction of the new wing. Broeren Russo, based in Champaign, was the contractor on the existing phase of Middletown Prairie and also spearheaded last summer’s renovations at Mahomet-Seymour High School.
Eight general contractors and over 50 subcontractors participated in the bid process. Those bids were opened on Feb. 2.
It was an “excellent response,” Todd Powers of Ittner Architects said. “We picked a great time to go out on the market.”
He said that they received calls from potential contractors not only around Illinois, but across the Midwest. The bidding was very competitive, with the top firms coming in within a few thousand dollars of each other.
Broeren Russo was the low bidder among the three finalists who were interviewed, coming in at $13.4 million for the base bid.
During those interviews, Superintendent Rick Johnston said, he, Powers and Facilities Director Shane Truitt looked closely at the firms represented. “Hands down, Broeren Russo came to the table very prepared,” he said.
But he added that the potential sale of Sangamon School means that the financial picture is still somewhat unclear. Proceeds from that sale are intended to offset the cost of construction, but officials are still seeking a buyer.
For that reason, a substantial list of bid alternates remains on the table. But Johnston said that accepting the base bid allows the project to get underway, and added that they’re confident they can find ways to save money along the way.
Board members said they’re comfortable with the decision to award the contract to a familiar firm.
“It’s comforting to know that they did the first phase and they know what’s here,” board member Jenny Park said.
“Not everyone would welcome back a previous general contractor,” board member Merle Giles said, but added that in this case the board is happy to do so. “They know us, they know the site, they know the processes.”
Broeren Russo Vice President Sky Sanborn said that his firm is happy to return to the district.
“We’re really excited at the opportunity to continue our relationship with Mahomet,” he said.
Read more school board coverage in this week's Mahomet Citizen