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Bids come in under for construction of new middle school

This architectural rendering gives a bird's-eye view of what would be the West Fargo School District's third middle school. YHR Partners / Special to The Pioneer

The West Fargo School District will save nearly $3.5 million on construction costs after bids came in much lower than planned.

The school board budgeted $31.9 million for construction of the new middle school, which is slated to open in fall 2020. On Tuesday, March 5, the school board opened the bids and found the lowest bidder, Meinecke-Johnson, proposed the project for $28.6 million, or about $3.4 million below construction estimates.

Business Manager Mark Lemer said the cost of filling the school is seperate.

Lemer said while the school district has had a good working relationship on most projects with Meinecke-Johnson, one was not done well.

"The Sheyenne expansion was a bad experience," Lemer said. "That caused us to question basically their ability to deliver on this project. "

Eric Johnson, president of Meinecke-Johnson said Monday, March 11, that the district will have the company's "A team"working on the project. He said the contract team plans to meet with school district officials monthly, or even as often as every two weeks.

"I know there are issues at Sheyenne, but we're out to prove that was a fluke," Johnson said. "The other five projects we've done with you guys represent this company. I don't want to meet your expectations, I want to exceed your expectations."

The school board agreed to award Meinecke-Johnson the project.

The West Fargo School District is building a third middle and high school as part of a $106.9 million referendum passed by voters in September to ease overcrowding and the district's fast growing population. Construction on the middle school will begin this spring, and it will open in 2020, when construction on the high school will begin.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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