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Wahoo school board approves construction manager at-risk

Wahoo school board approves construction manager at-risk

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WAHOO – During a very short special meeting held Monday night, the Wahoo Board of Education authorized the superintendent to negotiate for the construction manager at-risk position on a potential construction project.

The superintendent will negotiate with MCL Construction of Omaha. The firm was chosen by a committee that included Superintendent Brandon Lavaley and school board members Renae Feilmeier and Brett Eddie.

After the meeting, Lavaley told the Wahoo Newspaper the building project will include an addition and renovation, but did not say which of the district’s facilities would be affected.

BVH Architecture of Omaha was hired by the district last summer to assess facilities, review current capacity and look at future needs. Lavaley said a committee has been working with BVH Architecture to develop the scope of the project.

BVH Architecture has worked with MCL Construction on previous projects, something that also worked in MCL’s favor with the committee tasked with selecting a construction manager at-risk, Feilmeier said.

The committee put out proposals for a construction manager at-risk and received six responses, Lavaley said. They narrowed the field down to three and interviewed those companies. The committee decided to recommend MCL Construction.

Feilmeier said she chose MCL Construction because they were motivated to do the job and were willing to be transparent in their bid to show just their true costs, rather than mark up their bids with hidden costs.

Eddie said one of the reasons he favored MCL Construction was because they plan to have the same team work through the entire project.

Also earlier this year, the school board approved creating a nonprofit corporation to be used as an alternate funding mechanism for possible future projects. In an article with the Wahoo Newspaper published on July 22, Board President Rob Brigham explained that the corporation would act as a lease purchase mechanism where the district puts money in the building fund over the years and then determines how to use it. Brigham said for the last several years the school district has been levying 14 cents annually into its building fund, which is the maximum allowed by state law. The building fund levy has to be included in the overall levy, which is capped at $1.05 by the state.

After the school district’s failed attempt three years ago at a bond issue to address the lack of space, a Citizen’s Advisory Committee was formed to develop possible resolutions. Suggestions were made, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the district’s focus elsewhere. Since then, enrollment has continued to grow, causing even more issues regarding capacity.

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