“We’re at a standstill. They just feel we should do a design—build, and they should get to do it and be done, and that’s not how it works. We’re not doing that, so we’re back to square one,” said Alliance Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Troy Unzicker, describing the status of the HVAC project at Grandview.
Board members listened to Unzicker as he reviewed the history of the project, noting they expected it to be complete before the start of school in 2018.
“This is the ongoing saga,” Unzicker said. “We went through this last year about this time, and we were ensured the project would be done before school started. The bids were delayed and they weren’t ready by the time school started, let alone the project being done. We finally got it out to bid, and then Rasmussen won the bid.”
Unzicker told the board there were issues with the bid, noting the ability to use other products in a cost-saving effort. He said at the time, the scope of the project changed, saving the district money. School board members at the time of the agreement requested Rasmussen to get an engineer’s stamp on the design before commencing with the installation.
“In the meantime, while you have been waiting for this, Rasmussen has decided they don’t want to put an engineer’s stamp on it. They just want us to trust them and do it, with the understanding that they have insurance in case it’s messed up. I wasn’t in favor of that, and the board facility committee wasn’t in favor of that.”
With that decision, Unzicker sought out recommendations for other engineers who could complete the project to the board’s standards. After reaching out to firms, Unzicker heard a response from Engineering Technologies, Inc., of Omaha.
“They reviewed all of the designs on the buildings and they came out here and met with me,” said Unzicker. “They went through the building. I had a nice long conversation with them, telling them we’re looking at several other engineering companies. They’ve already drawn up the proposal to go to work.”
Unzicker emphasized that if the district wants the project to be complete before the next school year, the board would have to act in a timely fashion.
“If we want this done, then time is of the essence. It sounds very familiar, but they tell me they believe they can get this done before school starts. With the other companies not responding, at this point I just believe this is a system we have to move on,”Unzicker said.
“This year, we’ve been lucky with the weather so far,” said Unzicker. “So far, knock on wood, the boiler’s held. This will bring heat and air into this building. My recommendation would be to start with a new engineering firm, and hopefully we’ll have better luck. I think we will.”
With the exception of Board Member Edison Red Nest III, who was not present at Monday’s meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve ETI as the engineering firm for the Grandview HVAC project.