After postponing their decision from Feb. 28 to allow more time to thoroughly examine bid proposals, members of the Coventry School Building Committee met again on Tuesday to review and discuss the nine bid proposals received last week for Architectural Engineering firm services. The chosen company will be contracted for the design and engineering of five district-wide school improvement projects approved by voters last November. (The full $8.55 million scope of work can be found in the School Improvement Bonds column published in November.)
A five-member Sub-Committee met this past weekend to review each bid package, determine which company would be best qualified for the contract, and report back to the full Building Committee with their findings.
Eight of the nine bidders were interested in signing on for all five projects while one firm bid on the high school athletic complex updates only. The bids were submitted as follows:
Saccoccio & Assoc. (Cranston): $388,500
Edward Rowse (Providence): $457,500
Blount Bennett Architects (E. Providence): $311,229
Thomas Lonardo & Assoc. (Cranston): $440,046
StudioJaed (Warwick): 441,072
Brewster Thornton Group (Providence): $680,000
RGB Architects (Providence): $450,129
Torrado Architects (Providence): $375,000
4 Site LLC (Coventry): $38,312 (athletic complex only)
Committee Chairperson Bill Finnegan explained that he and the additional four Sub-Committee members closely analyzed each bid package, taking into consideration not only the bid amounts, but more importantly the experience of each company with similar projects and RI Dept. of Education (RIDE) school construction regulations.
Despite the fact that Blount Bennett Architects submitted the lowest bid amount, Sub-Committee members agreed that the company did not have as much experience as Torrado with similar projects and did not reference any RIDE experience in the proposal.
"Torrado's proposal is very good and shows experience with many similar projects along with extensive RIDE experience," said Finnegan. "Several of the companies with higher prices demonstrated the same project and RIDE experience, but we felt it was the most responsible choice to go with lowest qualified bidder."
Tom Hetherman, also on the Sub-Committee, said that some thought was given to using both Coventry-based 4 Site LLC for the athletic complex design and Blount Bennett Architects for the remaining four projects, but the RIDE experience between both firms was not sufficient.
"No one was willing to gamble with this kind of money," said Hetherman. "As much as we might have been thinking; 'A company has to start somewhere', we were just not comfortable with it."
Finnegan and Hetherman explained that Torrado has completed similar school projects in Exeter-West Greenwich, Narragansett, Scituate, East Providence and Lincoln, as well as complete roof replacements at schools in Johnston, Bristol, Warwick and West Warwick. The company was also responsible for the rehabilitation of the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence and frequently works with EDS, a RI engineering firm that was directly involved with the construction of Washington Oak School and improvements at the middle school.
Members of the Building Committee voted unanimously to recommend Torrado Architects to Town Manager Tom Hoover and the Town Council for approval at next Monday's Council meeting.
Once an agreement is approved and finalized between the School Building Committee and Torrado, the firm will provide a detailed construction cost estimate for each phase of the project. When the construction plans are 60% completed, the Committee will receive an updated cost summary, taking into consideration any price or plan changes. From there, Torrado will be responsible for gathering bid proposals from individual contractors for the various aspects of the projects.
Asst. Superintendent Convery will request that Torrado representatives attend the March 11 Town Council meeting to answer any questions that may arise.
Learn more about Torrado at the firm's website, www.torrado-architects.com.