KHS project gets boost from construction bids

POULSBO — The North Kitsap School Board faced a situation Monday that it’s not quite accustomed to: having extra money to spend.

The board, which had been seeking a tighter financial belt in all of the school district’s programs, received two offers from contractors to build the new high school in Kingston that came in far lower than anyone had anticipated.

“We did very well on bid day,” said the school district’s director of capital programs Robin Shoemaker. “The bids were responsive ... and were responsible bidders.”

Two contractors made bids to win the project: Wick Constructors, of Seattle, for a $23.4 million price, and Absher Construction Company, of Puyallup, for $24 million. The school board will likely approve Wick Constructors, as the low bidder, at its May 26 board meeting.

Wick’s total cost for the base bid — the mandatory aspects of the job — was $21.9 million, while the school district had anticipated spending about $24.5 million on the construction of the school.

That means that many alternates to the project — items not included in the base bid — will be fulfilled.

The crown jewel alternate for the school board was the addition of a synthetic track and an artificial turf field that will now become a reality in the project.

“The fact that we’re able to do a turf field and synthetic track is huge for this community,” said North Kitsap School Board President Catherine Ahl. “Once again, the school district is providing the community fields.”

Other alternates that will now be included in the project are: removable barriers between classrooms, student storage cabinets, outdoor portable bleachers, telescoping seating in the school’s main auditorium as well as providing acoustic improvements there, and a music and fitness room sound system.

The low bid not only fulfills nearly all of the high school’s slated optional projects, but adds some new ones to the list. Those include the addition of four tennis courts at a cost of $166,000, metal siding on the school rather than fiber cement siding at a cost of $236,000 and a covered walkway between the school’s buildings for $50,000. All costs are currently estimates.

Other options where costs are not known include:

• Athletic field lighting (though it was once estimated to be about $140,000 for the main field)

• Drinking fountains at fields

• Restrooms inside the Nike site’s former missile assembly and testing building

• Masonry walls and metal roofs at the diamond field dugouts

• Improved field drainage

• Adding higher diamond field backstops

• Adding permanent yard markers at the turf field

• Bolstering rain protection in siding, walls

The extra amount the school board can put toward the additions is unknown, though there is close to $900,000 difference between the project’s total budget — $38.5 million — and cost — $37.6 million.

Additional funding from the state legislature expanded the project’s budget by $575,000, from a $37.9 million total to $38.5 million. Wick’s low bids made the project’s total lower at $37.6 million.

Though Shoemaker said there’s no way to know just yet how much money will be available, she did confirm, “There’s a chunk of change for sure.”

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