image description
The School Building Needs Commission approved the GMP on Monday.

Gilbane, City Settle On 'Guaranteed Maximum Price' For Taconic Construction

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
Print Story | Email Story

John Benzinger from Skanska presented the GMP on Monday.
PITTSFIELD,Mass. — The city and Gilbane Building Co. have settled on a guaranteed maximum price for the construction of the new Taconic High School. 
The price for construction only is $97,757,373, which is equal to the project established months ago by the state. Now that the bids for the construction are in, Gilbane and the School Building Needs Commission finalized that construction budget, outlining the cost of each item and subcontracts. 
"Tonight was a reaffirmation that that was number. Almost two years ago, the [Massachusetts School Building Authority] said this is the number. The City Council when they voted to send the project forward said, yes, that is the number. What we saw here tonight is all of the math that lets us back into that number, which we didn't have when the MSBA approved it," Superintendent Jason McCandless said.
The entire project is budgeted at $120.7 million. The construction was for $97.7 million and now that the bids for that have arrived, construction manager Gilbane can settle on the final price. However, there is still unknown costs such as furnishing the new school.
"Getting the building built, pretty much those bids are out, filling it up with a mixture of equipment we already have and new equipment and furniture, those bids aren't out," McCandless said
Additionally, the bids for electrical work is under protest. John Benzinger of the consulting firm Skanska said Wayne Griffin Electric Co. is challenging the low bidder. Ferguson Electric Co. bid $9,847,000 for the work while Griffin bid $10,400,000. However, Griffin says Ferguson did not fill out the bid documents correctly by not listing any subcontractors and instead only listing itself as the ones performing the work, according to Benzinger.
The city's legal team is working on the appeal now but Skanska is confident the bid will hold up. 
"The second lowest bidder is saying that Ferguson didn't submit their paperwork correctly. The difference in price is $550,000 more. If we disqualify Ferguson, we'd be paying $550,000 more than we are for Ferguson," the city's Purchasing Agent Colleen Hunter-Mullett said.
If the appeal does hold up, then Benzinger said there are plans in place to cover the additional cost. The Ferguson bid is what was included in the GMP.
"The whole project budget the MSBA has approved and you have authorized is $120,799,929 and the difference between the two are fees associated with the design, FF&E which the city will have to purchase eventually, moving expenses, [owner's project manager] expenses," Benzinger said.
Under a pre-construction contract, Gilbane was already authorized to execute contracts for site work, concrete, structural steel, plumbing, windows, and masonry, Benzinger said. Monday's authorization allows Gilbane to executive contracts for the rest of construction.
"Everything was competitively bid," Benzinger said.
Also not included in the price was $950,000 for additional soil work. A mix of contaminated soils and unsuitable soils were found on the property because it was both swamp in some areas and a dumping ground for construction debris in other areas. That additional work to mitigate the contamination — and ship the soils to an approved landfill — cost $950,000. That is coming out of the city's contingency budget, which was $4.3 million to start.
The site work is "significantly complete" now. Concrete foundation work is 80 percent done, structural steel will start on Oct. 11 and precast concrete work for the structure will start on Oct. 17. 
Receiving and approving that GMP is the first significant milestone in the construction process. The new school is expected to be open in 2018. While the GMP is a milestone, school officials say the construction budget had already been set twice before.
 "The MSBA itself really sets a number to draw a line in the sand to say this project is going to serve this many students in this type of school. In our instance, it is a comprehensive school so it has vocational programs included. They lay out a number that their board approves and this body approves, and the City Council approved it," McCandless said.
"This project may not exceed that cost. It may not exceed that cost in anyway shape or form."


Taconic High School GMP


Tags: MSBA,   school project,   Taconic school project,   

Support Local News

We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires and community events. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about pivotal events that affect their communities and their lives.

How important is local news to you? You can support independent, unbiased journalism and help iBerkshires grow for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.

0 Comments welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to

Recent Stories