Referendum bids 20 percent over budget

Supply chain issues and labor shortages have caused prices to go up for Phase 3 facilities improvement projects at Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South high schools, to the tune of $4.8 million.

Hinsdale High School District 86 Board members approved 15 bid packages Dec. 16 (see sidebar) that came in at just over $28 million, or about 21 percent higher than expected.

“Obviously the bid results were out of line with what we were anticipating in the budget,” Chief Financial Officer Josh Stephenson said.

Four of the packages did not receive any bids.

“People’s labor force is stressed right now, so people finding people to bid projects is an issue for them,” said Marty Platten, project director at Pepper Construction Group.

Those packages have been put out to bid again, and results will be brought to the board in January, he reported, noting that many of the bid packages awarded had three to five bidders.

“We are getting fair market value for the scope of the work that was bid out,” Platten said.

He pointed out that the original budget was set in the early stages of the project based on a conceptual design and before some of the plumbing, electrical and mechanical issues that exist in the buildings were discovered. He acknowledged supply chain delays will be a concern, especially for industrial kitchen equipment and lighting.

“There’s definitely going to be challenges, and we’re going to try to stay ahead of those to make sure we can deliver,” Platten said.

The finance and facilities committees are discussing how to address the deficit, Stephenson said. One strategy will be to attempt to reduce the cost through value engineering on a variety of projects.

“The construction team is working on those items for phase 3 and the remaining phase 4 work,” Stephenson said.

The board also could allocate the $3.1 million set aside in the 2022 budget for operational projects to the referendum work.

“The direction from finance and facilities was the delivering of the referendum items is the top priority, so we will deliver all the referendum projects within the time period we had established,” Stephenson said.

Most of the construction is expected to take place during the summer of 2022. The projects are part of $140 million worth of work voters approved in an April 2019 referendum.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean