Tekamah Herman School 2019

A career education center at Tekamah-Herman took a step closer to becoming a reality recently.

During a special meeting July 29, the school’s Board of Education accepted a base bid of $1.88 million from Rogge General Contractors of Lincoln to renovate the former Tekamah Motors building.

The bid is the lowest of the four the district received. But the quoted price may not be the final price.

Architect Robert Soukup told the board that accepting the bid gives the board an opening to discuss the choice of subcontractors with Rogge. The board also has yet to approve any of the eight alternative projects that were included with the specifications for the project. Those are expected to be selected at the board’s Aug. 12 regular meeting. If all of the alternatives are added and the board accepts the two other contingency plans, the total jumps to $1,996,600. That figure is still below the base bid of any of the other three contractors.

The alternates include skylights to provide natural light for the ag classroom, epoxy resinous flooring for some of the shop areas, upgrading the garage doors, a graphic wall inside the front entrance, ceiling fans in the auto shop it isn’t air conditioned, electric heating near the front display windows, exterior signage, as well as contingency funding to allow for cutting and patching of concrete floors and to repair the cracking and do tuck[pointing on the building’s exterior.

The base bid is, however, about $130,000 over the anticipated price. Soukup said things are driving up the price: workload and material costs and the project’s time frame. A spring full of natural disasters has filled plenty of calendars with repair work. All of that work also drives up the price of building materials, especially concrete and roofing material.

Then there is the time factor. The district wants work to start as soon as possible and be completed by the end of the calendar year.

“A year ago, this would have been closer to $1.5 million,” Soukuop said. “But there’s a lot of work out there right now and a lot of contractors are just too busy.”

With the acceptance of a bid, the board now has the opportunity to influence Rogge’s choice of subcontractors, like electricians, plumbers, etc. Soukup said his company, Carlson West Povondra, would work with Rogge to develop a package of subcontractors.

Soukup said any change in subcontractors would be handled as a change order, all of which eventually come through the board. The district would be responsible for any difference in price.

He said part of the bid includes the listing of subcontractors that help the general contractor come up with a winning bid.

Superintendent Dan Gross said there are advantages to using local subcontractors, “especially down the road when you’re talking about maintenance and repair. You’d be calling people who are familiar with the systems because they installed them.”

Russ Koch, the consultant hired to help shepherd the project to completion, reminded the board that they have the final say over what gets done, and by whom.

“You’re in charge,” he said. “It’s up to you to be careful with taxpayer money.”

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