North Tama selects Independence firm for facility project

New school director maps also discussed

Telegraph file photo.

The North Tama school district’s facility improvement project took another step forward recently as the school board approved a motion to hire an Independence firm to act as the Construction Manager at-Risk (CMaR) for the district.

Using the CMaR project delivery model versus the more standard construction manager model was approved during the board’s June meeting. The biggest difference between the two models being the CMaR model allows a construction manager to self-perform work – bidding on any work that they do perform.

During the board’s regular meeting on August 15, Larson Construction Company Inc. was selected among a group of six firms for the CMaR role. A motion was approved unanimously by the board members present (David Boldt being absent) to authorize the superintendent to negotiate a contract with Larson Construction.

The Independence-based company had the second highest qualification score following the district’s Request for Qualifications on July 12. Twelve firms submitted Statements of Qualification but only six chose to move forward with the process following the publication of the rankings.

Peters Construction based in Waterloo had the highest qualification score (30.5) to Larson’s 29.25. Firms were scored on company description, proposed project team, and similar project experience and then scored again following the district’s Request for Proposal. Fees for pre-referendum services from the six firms ranged from $0 to $39,500 with Larson proposing $0.

According to board member Valerie Bradley who was part of the three-member scoring team which also included Superintendent David Hill, although Larson did not earn the top qualification score, the firm scored far higher than the other firms in the final scoring.

Following a motion by David Calderwood and a second by Bradley to approve Larson as the district’s CMaR, board member Doug Dvorak expressed some hesitation at not selecting Peters but felt Larson was the right choice in light of the more than 120 schools for which the Independence firm has provided similar work. The motion carried 6-0.

New director districts on the horizon

Under the superintendent’s report provided later in the Aug. 15 board meeting, Hill shared he had been working with Mapping Strategies Inc. to analyze the 2020 U.S. Census data and develop (sample) maps for what will ultimately become new school board director districts.

Hill said none of the current director district boundaries will remain the same between the last census (2010) and the 2020 census due to population shifts and the legal requirement to retain rural representation on the board. The new maps could pit two or three existing school board members against one another, Hill said.

The school director redistricting process is behind schedule in Iowa due to a five-month delay in the data being released to the states last year – a delay that was attributed to the pandemic.

New director districts must be approved no earlier than November 15, 2022, and no later than May 15, 2023, by the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. The new districts will be in effect for the November 2023 school board elections.