Board OKs LAMS project

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Education: LAPS moves ahead with $18.5 million work at the school

By Whitney Jones

Despite a protest from contractor Bradbury Stamm regarding the process that ultimately resulted in a construction contract being awarded to McCarthy, the Los Alamos Public School District is moving ahead with the work at Los Alamos Middle School.

“Looks like the light has turned from yellow to green over the last few days,” school board president Kevin Honnell said.

Albuquerque-based Bradbury Stamm, which lost out to McCarthy in the district bidding process, is protesting that McCarthy shouldn’t have received in-state preference points from the district.

The company is also protesting similar awards by Santa Fe Public Schools and Los Lunas Public Schools.

In-state preference allows contractors to receive five additional points in a proposal evaluation process – which factored into McCarthy receiving the project bid.

McCarthy is a multi-state company with a New Mexico location in Albuquerque. And the company was awarded in-state preference certification earlier this year by the state Taxation and Revenue Department, but Bradbury Stamm is arguing the certification was awarded in error.

Even so, the contract between the school district and McCarthy was signed Friday, according to District Chief Financial Officer John Wolfe.

Superintendent Gene Schmidt said that’s because the district’s legal council sent a letter last week to Bradbury Stamm rejecting the protest.

“We shouldn’t have to sit and wait,” Schmidt said.

He said the district is under time constraints to get the project complete by the beginning of the 2013 school year.

Schmidt argued the district did its due diligence in formally evaluating the bid proposals and awarding the $18.5 million construction project to McCarthy, which he said had its paperwork in order at the time. Schmidt said should the state Taxation and Revenue Department determine that in-state preference certification was awarded to McCarthy in error, and then a retraction of that certification should only affect future projects.

“That’s McCarthy’s business in the future,” he said.

A public records request to review Bradbury Stamm’s protest and the district’s response has received no response from district officials as of Tuesday.

Wolfe said Los Lunas has also taken a similar stance against the protest.

“When is demo day?” board member Melanie McKinley asked. “When do I get to use my sledgehammer?”

Gerald Martin Construction Management Project Representative David Wharram said he’s meeting with McCarthy today to discuss where to put the new portable during the construction process, but that a fixed date for construction has yet to be set.

He said they’re also continuing to look at cost saving efforts as part of value engineering – which he said could be as simple as using a different brand for some items.

Construction for the $18.5 million project is financed in part by a 2009 Bond as well as the Public School Facility Authority — which has awarded the Los Alamos Public Schools $5 million.