Central Services Facility
NCSD construction, maintenance supports local economy
Bid selection processes follow state competitive process
Recent school construction and major maintenance projects in the Natrona County School District have been a boon for the local construction industry, and upcoming projects in the community are expected to provide a significant influx of work and cash into the local economy.
NCSD building projects, funded by the Wyoming School Facilities Commission (WSFC), have pumped more than $57 million into the local construction industry in the past five years. Upcoming design and construction projects at Casper area high schools are expected to bring the next round of work to local industry.
“Our district is excited to partner with our community to provide the best learning facilities for our children,” said Dr. Joel Dvorak, NCSD superintendent.
”We have a responsibility to follow state rules and regulations and to be responsible stewards of public money,” said Dr. Audrey Cotherman, NCSD Board Chairwoman. “All of our construction projects adhere to a state-regulated, fair, competitive bid process that ensures that these dollars are spent efficiently and appropriately.”
The WSFC, in cooperation with NCSD, recently selected lead architect and construction-manager-at-risk firms for remodel work at Kelly Walsh and Natrona County high schools, as well as for design of a new high school campus in Casper. At Kelly Walsh High School, RB+B Architects out of Colorado will be the lead architect, with Sampson Construction, a Nebraska firm with Wyoming offices, acting as the construction manager at risk. At Natrona County High School, Bassetti Architects of Washington state will be the lead architect, with Adolfson & Peterson, a Wyoming firm, serving as construction manager at risk. And, the new high school campus will be designed by the Cuningham Group of Minnesota in partnership with MOA, a Denver firm with offices in Casper.
Each of these primary firms will partner with a significant number of other firms, though, for subcontracting work. Already, six Casper companies and one Cheyenne company have been identified to provide professional architecture and engineering support for the projects. Contract negotiations on the projects are ongoing, and budgets will be released once contracts are completed.
Recent projects in the district show similar trends. Both CY Middle School and Summit Elementary School opened in the fall of 2010 in Casper. Construction of CY Middle School cost approximately $31.9 million. Of that, $24.9 million went to Wyoming contractors, most based in Casper. Construction of Summit Elementary School cost about $14.6 million, with about $6.9 million spent on local contractors.
In the past five years, NCSD has spent about $24 million on major maintenance work in Natrona County schools. All of those projects were contracted through Caspar-Pope, a Casper company, which in turn hired mostly local subcontractors to complete the work.
“Our local industries have done a good job of designing, building and fixing schools in our community, and they are going to continue doing so. Our upcoming high school projects are the largest capital projects this community has seen in more than a decade, and it’s going to be a boom for local companies and workers,” Dvorak said.
“NCSD is a great neighbor if you’re in the construction business. We are spending millions of dollars on construction projects when the industry most needs work.”
The Wyoming School Facilities Commission funds and oversees school major maintenance and capital construction projects in the state. Money is allocated through the Wyoming Legislature, primarily from the state’s mineral royalties. The commission has statewide rules and regulations for the bidding process. For the Casper-area high schools, for example, representatives from the schools and district’s Board of Trustees were invited to sit on selection committees to identify the scope of work at each school and review bids. However, final decisions and contract negotiations are handled by the WSFC.
“This process is designed to be fair and competitive,” Dvorak said. “It’s handled the same throughout the state, and this process has been vetted by the Wyoming contractors and architects.
“The work that has been done to improve our school facilities in Natrona County is good news for our students and for our local economy; our continued work together will be no different.”