Sid Johnson & Co., a well-known Baker City construction company, has been awarded the bid to serve as general contractor on a project that will transform the North Baker School Building into an early learning center.

Sid Johnson & Co. submitted the low bid of $1,616,884.

The only other firm vying for the contract was McCormack Construction Co. of Pendleton, which bid $1,788,700.

The bids included two alternate projects that were included in the accepted proposal, said Cassie Hibbert, project manager with Wenaha Group, which has an office in Pendleton. The project architect is LKV Architects of Boise.

Hibbert, who has worked with the District for the past several years on long-range facility planning, coordinated the bidding process. Bids were opened on May 28.

Hibbert said the first alternate was a $9,715 project to install cabinetry and plumbing in two classrooms in the southwest wing of the ground floor of the North Baker School, 2725 Seventh St. Sinks and cabinets will be needed as classrooms are transformed for kindergartners, she said. New matching sinks and cabinets also will be added to the other kindergarten classrooms that have existing plumbing, she said.

The second alternate, totalling $80,169, is for installing new aluminum windows on the first floor.

“The District really, really wanted to do the windows,” she said.

The District listed the two projects as alternates in case the bids came in high, Hibbert said. But that wasn’t the case.

“The bids came in favorably and in line with our budget,” she said.

Sid Johnson & Co.’s “first-tier subcontractor list,” which Hibbert said contractors are required to provide in their bids, includes these firms:

• Scrivner Paint of Baker City, $93,230

• Outpost Electric of Baker City, $319,496

• Nelson Excavating of the Walla Walla Valley in Washington, $267,620

• Dillabaugh’s Flooring of Idaho’s Treasure Valley, $152,314

Other Baker County subcontractors on the project are Eagle Cap Plumbing, Alpine Alarm and A+ Affordable Construction (fencing), Baker School District Superintendent Mark Witty stated in a press release.

The North Baker building was constructed in 1909. The District added on to the north end of the building in the 1950s and a wing was added to the south end of the building in the 1970s.

The total cost of the renovation project is $2.3 million, Witty said. In addition to a $96,158 District contribution, funding sources include: $1.8 million from the Oregon Student Investment Act; $200,000 in grant funding; and $80,000, from Preschool Promise, the Oregon Department of Education’s Early Learning Division.

In reviewing the proposed budget with the Baker School Board at its April 24 meeting, Hibbert said a 9% contingency was included.

The north end of the building will be remodeled to include four classrooms for programs including Early Intervention, Head Start and preschool.

The south wing restoration project will include five kindergarten classrooms that will be occupied in the fall of 2021 to relieve overcrowding at Brooklyn Primary School. The kindergartners will remain in the self-contained modular buildings at Brooklyn this fall.

In addition to new paint, flooring, plumbing and electrical work and window replacement, the interior renovation will include abatement of asbestos tile, pipe insulation and fire escape cladding in the newer areas of the building as well as the tuffstone section, Hibbert said.

The play area on the building’s north side will be fenced and the parent and bus drop-off system will be reconfigured. The existing basketball court will be converted to a parking lot.

The renovation will involve about 25,000 square feet of the North Baker School Building’s total 40,000 square feet, Witty said.

At the Board’s April meeting, Hibbert said the work being done to convert the old building into the Baker Early Learning Center will make it more appealing to the youngsters who will begin their educations there.

“The goal is to make it look like a positive, exciting and pleasant place that kids will want to be in,” she said.

Hibbert said Wednesday that the construction work could start as early as next week. Preschool classes are scheduled to begin in the building on Oct. 5.

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