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Bozeman firm to rebuild Whitefish High
Aug 17, 2012 (Daily Inter Lake - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Whitefish School District trustees decided Langlas and Associates had the edge over five other firms and named the Bozeman-based firm the general contractor and construction manager for the high school renovation and remodel project Tuesday.
Trustees voted 5-1 -- with Charlie Abell opposing -- in favor of a recommendation made by a district oversight committee. Before trustees took a formal vote, the high school's representative, Bayard Dominick of Steeplechase Development Advisers, spent the day going through plans with Langlas.
The estimated $19 million high school project includes 77,600 square feet of new construction plus renovation of 45,900 square feet.
Other companies that submitted requests for proposals and participated in two-day interviews included: Swank Enterprises of Kalispell and Valier; Martel Construction of Bozeman and Bigfork; Dick Anderson Construction of Helena, Great Falls and Bozeman; Jackson Contractor Group of Missoula and Walker Construction of Spokane.
Langlas has offices in Bozeman and Billings.
Estimates provided by the firms were:
n Walker Construction: $17,758,584.
n Langlas and Associates: $17,240,812.
n Dick Anderson Construction: $15.1 million.
n Jackson Contractor Group: $15,011,711.
n Martel Construction Inc.: $14,870,850.
n Swank Enterprises: $14,486,540.
"It is difficult to compare these numbers directly as some of the cost estimates included contingency and some did not, some broke out their fee estimate and some did not, some included performance and insurance expenses associated with the project and some did not," Dominick said.
Those preliminary estimates were based on schematic information such as floor plan size and a list of building requirements for the district to see how each firm approached making project estimates, Dominick said.
Trustee chairwoman Pat Jarvi and Dominick said that every firm had great presentations, but Langlas stood out because of its school construction experience. Langlas is completing a combined school addition and remodel at Park High School in Livingston similar to what Whitefish High School will require.
"It is important to note that throughout the interview process and follow-up thereafter with Langlas and Associates, they communicate a high level of confidence that we will get the costs for this project down to the number approved by the voters," Dominick said in an email to the Daily Inter Lake. "Their experience in similar projects that faced similar budget and schedule challenges gives the Oversight Committee reason to concur with their optimism."
He added that Langlas has used the same team of project superintendents and managers to complete three recent school construction projects. In the last five years, the firm has worked on six school sites in Montana, company President Steve Langlas said.
"It's an honor to have the Whitefish board put their trust in us to do a great job for the school and the community," Langlas said.
The next step is to work with the design team -- DLR Group and Jackola Architects and Engineers -- to complete final drawings.
"We'll put a detailed estimate together and we'll help them design to meet the district's budget. Typically we'll produce two or three rounds of pricing during the design phase," Langlas said.
Once the drawings are finished, the bidding process will begin.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Abell explained why he voted against the oversight committee's recommendation.
While Abell said Langlas is very capable, he was in favor of contracting with Swank Enterprises because it's a local firm and had a lower cost estimate. Abell has also worked with Swank while he was chief executive officer of Whitefish Credit Union. Swank's portfolio includes local projects such as Glacier High School and Edgerton Elementary School in Kalispell and Whitefish Middle School.
Although Abell was not on the oversight committee, he attended Swank's interview as an observer.
"They made a fine presentation and are a local company with staff living in our district. I am a strong believer in doing things locally when we can," Abell said.
Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
___ (c)2012 the Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell, Mont.) Visit the Daily Inter Lake
(Kalispell, Mont.) at www.dailyinterlake.com Distributed by MCT Information
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UPDATED 2:12 AM EST - May 19, 2013
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