Disqualification puts Batzer in lead to rebuild schools

Rebuilding Jackson and Roosevelt elementary schools will cost $1.2 million more after the lowest construction bidder was disqualified Monday for barely missing a deadline to turn in a list of subcontractors.

The elimination of Robinson Construction of Bend means the second lowest bidder, Batzer Construction of Medford, is expected to win the contract to build the schools.

The contract will be awarded at the Medford School Board's Oct. 7 meeting.

Under state law, the Medford School District is prohibited from awarding the contracts to Robinson because the company turned in its subcontractor list four minutes after the 4 p.m. deadline Thursday.

"It was an unfortunate situation, but it happens," said Mark Button, Medford schools facilities director. "Robinson was trying to make copies and couldn't do it on time. By state law we can't award the contract."

Robinson bid about $8.5 million to build each school compared to Batzer's offer of $9.1 million per school.

The other bids were $10.3 million from Adroit Construction in Ashland and $11.3 million from Hogan Construction in Centerville, Utah.

The state-mandated process required bidders to submit sealed bids by 2 p.m. and a list of subcontractors by 4 p.m. Robinson met the first deadline but not the second.

The higher price reduces the amount of leftover money from the district's $189 million bond issue approved by voters in November 2006.

After the Jackson and Roosevelt bids were turned in Thursday, district officials expected to have enough surplus funds to replace the original 100-year-old building at Oak Grove Elementary, which engineers have said has structural deficiencies. By Monday, it appeared there would not be enough money to replace the building.

"We still have a positive balance, but it doesn't look sufficient to replace it," said Medford schools Superintendent Phil Long.

Batzer's total $18.2 million construction price for both Jackson and Roosevelt schools includes building gymnasiums, replacing the original 1911 buildings and renovating the libraries and classroom wings. The sister schools were both built around 1911 after a population boom in the city.

Batzer is a commercial general contractor in business since 1955 and has worked on recent Medford bond projects, including Washington Elementary and the new South Medford High School.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.

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