Owego district must rebid some construction contracts

By Kelly McCarthy

February 3, 2014 Updated Feb 4, 2014 at 10:42 AM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Owego-Apalachin School District must start over with three bids to rebuild the flooded Owego Elementary.

During the school board meeting on Jan. 30, only one of the four expected bids were approved.

The bids would be for the final two-thirds of the construction project.

The school board did award the general construction contract to Daniel Lynch of Endwell for a $24.5 million. Lynch's crew is already on site working to get the foundation laid down by the end of this week.

The other three contracts for electrical, plumbing, and air ventilation will have to be rebid again.

The district wants to stick with the same vendor for the technology used in all buildings, but it can't force the contractors to make the same choice.

So it needs to purchase the technology instead of putting it in the bid.

"The difference will be instead of having our contractors buy the stuff and install it we will buy it," said Superintendent Dr. William Russell. "The district will buy it directly and they will install it. We can standardize as long as we purchase it. If they purchase it, we can't standardize. And that was the mistake we made, or different interpretation of the law."

Russell said this should not set back the school opening date because the bids deal with work later in the construction stage. The Owego Elementary school is scheduled to open for the 2015-16 school year.

"If you think about electrical, and plumbing and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) there's not a lot of that that goes on in the early phases of pouring foundations and erecting structural steel for the frame of the building," Dr. Russell said, "We should have it done by the time we need any of that work to go on. It should be in good shape by then. So no, I don't anticipate a set back in the overall schedule."

The State Education Department contacted the school district to say there was a problem with the bids and standardizing technology equipment can not be left up to the contractor.

The district expects new bids to go out by the end of the week.