Board dips into account to cover bid
LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette Parish School Board, in a 6-1 vote Tuesday, approved MD Descant Inc.’s low bid of $3.998 million for renovations of the N.P. Moss Annex site, which will house the school district’s alternative programs in the upcoming school year.
The other bidders for the N.P. Moss project were Rudick Company, $4.34 million; Woodrow Wilson, $4.759 million; and Patin Construction, $5 million.
Pitched initially as the “Opportunity School,” the school has a new name: the N.P. Moss Preparatory School, Superintendent Pat Cooper said.
The school site formerly housed various departments of the school district, but the district’s alternative programs related to discipline and academic intervention will be consolidated on the campus.
Anticipated enrollment at the N.P. Moss Preparatory School is 600 for the upcoming school year in grades 5-12.
The district’s “Charter High” program, which gives students the option to graduate with a traditional high school diploma at their own pace through computerized instruction, also will move to the campus.
MD Descant’s bid was the lowest out of four bid proposals received for the project.
The amount exceeds the initial projected cost of $3.5 million for the renovations, which included architects’ fees.
The board also approved allocating $717,500 available in a contingency fund within the district’s federal stimulus construction program funding to cover the additional costs.
Michael LeBlanc, of MWL Architects, said factors that contributed to the escalated costs were the accelerated construction timeline to complete renovations in the main building before the start of school on Aug. 10, kitchen mechanical and plumbing issues and the need to upgrade the site’s electrical system.
The electrical upgrade alone is an estimated additional $120,000, LeBlanc told the board.
An additional driveway that goes to the back of the kitchen will be added to comply with a board of health recommendation, LeBlanc said.
Board members Mark Allen Babineaux, Mark Cockerham, Kermit Bouillion, Shelton Cobb, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion voted in support of the motion.
Board member Tommy Angelle voted against a motion to award the bid and fund the additional money to the project.
Board members Greg Awbrey and Rae Trahan were absent.
Angelle suggested the architect could “tweak” the project “so we don’t have to dip in our reserve” and use the money for construction at other schools.
Tuesday’s board action leaves $34,744 in the contingency account, according to a memo issued Tuesday from Kyle Bordelon, district facilities director, to Cooper on the bids.
An additional $1.6 million is still available within the federal stimulus construction fund program for projects identified at schools after a survey of campuses, according to the memo.