An early rendering of the West Hancock High School renovations project slated to begin in June.

The lowest bid for the West Hancock School Board of Directors’ high school renovations project was too good to be true.

On Monday, April 29, the School Board in a 6-0 vote, with Jon Harle absent, approved the $545,700 bid from Woodruff Construction of Tiffin in a special meeting just days after its initial contractor backed out.

“We’ve already contacted them and they’re still willing to do the work and have the time to do the work,” Superintendent Wayne Kronemann told the board about Woodruff.

The special meeting was held two weeks after the School Board unanimously approved The Samuels Group’s bid of $427,000 for its high school renovation project, which was the lowest of four bids by more than $100,000.

At the time, a conversation between the district’s architectural and engineering firm and the contractor revealed it inadvertently omitted the cost of a $50,000 steel piece needed for the exterior entrance canopy, but it would honor its bid if the district chose to move forward with them.

However, after a preconstruction meeting Thursday, April 25, The Samuels Group, of Des Moines, notified the district and ISG it was no longer interested in the project.

“They didn’t realize for whatever reason that the $427,000 bid also included a $50,000 contingency, so they thought they were getting the whole amount,” Kronemann said.

He said if the $50,000 contingency isn’t spent during the project on an unforeseen expense, it’s returned to the district.

During the special meeting, the School Board in a 6-0 vote directed Kronemann and the district’s attorney to secure a written agreement allowing The Samuels Group, of Des Moines, to withdraw its $427,000 bid as long as it, or its bond company, pays West Hancock 5 percent of its bid, which totals about $21,350.

Kronemann said the amount the district receives from The Samuels Group will be applied back to the project.

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“That actually helps out with the bid amount also,” he said. “I mean that wasn’t the plan. We would’ve rather this went through.”

In the past, Woodruff Construction assisted with West Hancock’s geothermal project at the high school and remodeled the commons area bathrooms.

The School Board hired ISG in October to provide the district schematic design, design development, construction documents, bidding and negotiating and construction administration and project.

The project, including the construction of an outside main entrance canopy, general commons facelift and modernization of the front office and concession stand area restrooms, will begin in June. Its substantial completion date is Aug. 9.

It also includes installing new lockers, a new trophy case and windows on the south wall as well as replacing the doors and the flooring in the entry, north and south corridors.

A large portion of the project will be funded by the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy, or PPEL, voters approved in September. The funds can be used for future projects, like LED lighting, technology, transportation, building maintenance and high school renovations.

Also during the April 29 meeting, the School Board:

  • Approved the $16,116.43 furniture bid from Office Concepts for the high school renovation project.
  • Approved the hiring of Carolyn Eddler as the high school agriculture and family consumer science teacher for the 2019-2020 school year. Both positions were open after Katelyn Anderson, who was hired in 2018, and Kassondra Robinson, who was hired in 2017, resigned from their positions respectively earlier this year.

Photos: West Hancock Band Extravaganza

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Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.


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