School building contractors to be screened

WESTFIELD – The School Building Committee will authorize creation tonight of a group to begin the process of prequalifying construction contractors.
That group is required under state law (Chapter 149) which also defines its members. The group screening contractors for prequalification will include the project manager, Paul H. Kneedler of Skanska USA Building Inc.; the project designer, Margo Jones of Margo Jones Architects Inc.; Tammy Tefft, the city’s purchasing director and one other person from the city’s jurisdiction.
That group is not subject to the open meeting law because of the confidential nature of information being provided by construction companies seeking to prequalify for the proposed $36 million school building project at the intersection of Ashley and Cross streets.
“It’s not a public process,” Tefft said this morning. “Prequalifying (group) meetings are not opened to the public until a final decision is made.”
The companies seeking to be qualified to bid on the 96,000-square-foot, two-story building project are not privy to the city’s design information and construction plans during the prequalification process.
“It’s a very specific process that the state does for projects over $10 million,” she said. “All of the general contractors and subcontractors submit their information, then we list who is prequalified. Those companies are the invited to bid on the project.
The state lists 26 different subcontractor categories.
“I’d like to get a lot of contractors submitting for prequalification and hope to qualify, at a minimum, at least three from each category,” Tefft said.
Tefft said the city will advertise the prequalification process for two weeks, then begin the assessment process of those submissions with a goal of having a list of prequalified companies by the end of April or early May.
“I’d like to bid the contracts in May, but that depends on the prequalification process.”
Tonight the School Building Committee will discuss who will be the fourth member of the prequalification group as well as the timeline for that process.

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