College building bids come in under original estimates

Grays Harbor College President Ed Brewster says bids for its new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math building came in at just about the same level that state legislators had cut the project to.

Brewster said that the college simply lucked out.

The building was designed to cost an estimated $46.543 million, as provided to the college by professional estimators during their design process. However, legislators gave the college just less than $41.6 million.

Those totals included the permitting costs to do construction, as well as half a million dollars in alternatives to include better quality finishes and flooring. The base construction costs were estimated at about $35.5 million and the lowest bid for the project was by Berschauer Phillips Construction of Olympia, which bid $31.434 million, along with bidding an extra $323,130 to do the alternative bids to increase the quality of the project.

Other bidders included Lydig Construction Inc. of Spokane Valley, Walsh Pacific of Seattle, Rognlin’s Inc. of Aberdeen, Graham of Seattle, Osborne Construction Co. of Kirkland and Schwiesow Construction Inc. of Centralia. Rognlins was the only local bidder and came in fourth with a base bid of $33.1 million.

“The Legislature funded the project at 89 percent of the estimated cost and the low bid was at 89 percent of the estimated cost,” Brewster said. “We are really pleased that we will be able to start construction soon without having to reduce any costs. … We will certainly need to watch the budget closely and unexpected things can come up, but we are very pleased with the bid.”

Construction will begin around the first week of August and the building should be open by September of 2015.

Brewster said the Grays Harbor College Board of Trustees also decided to name the building the Gene Schermer Instructional Building.

Schermer was a longtime faculty member, vice president of instruction and is still very active in the Grays Harbor College Foundation and the Choker Club, which supports athletics, and has served as president for both organizations in the past, Brewster said.

Brewster said a groundbreaking will be conducted by the end of July and legislators and other community members who want to attend will be invited.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to serve the community with state-of-the art science, math, art and nursing facilities,” Brewster said.

The City of Aberdeen, Grays Harbor County officials and Grays Harbor Transit are all looking forward to the building, too, which will provide an immediate one-time boost in sales tax revenues.