Comments on the Hawthorne Heights Project

Mexico School District No. 59 Hawthorne Heights Projects

There are issues that have been raised related to the Hawthorne Heights Entryway and Parking Lot projects at Mexico High School. The first of these is the number of projects involved at this site. Some have perceived the projects as one comprehensive undertaking. This is simply not the case. There are, and always have been three separate projects. The other issue involves the associated costs of these projects.

The first project is the parking lot, which includes the Memorial Walkway. The second is a “two phased” project dealing with the construction of the exterior and interior of the storage/concession/restroom facility. The district chose to contract out the exterior portion of the building while using district personnel to complete the interior of the building.

The purpose was to allow for major savings on the completed projects’ total expense. Also reflected in the completed costs of all these projects are the related architect’s fees. These fees are invoiced upon completion of the project and are not included in the preliminary bids. The bid estimates obtained for the parking lot and the exterior of the building were received from the winning contractor’s bids. They were then submitted for Board of Education approval and were the basis upon which the District proceeded to build these three separate projects.

The projects and the procedures involved with construction were approved by the Board at the May 2011 meeting, provided the district had funds available.

As is generally the case in projects of this nature, there are change orders that affect the final costs involved. These items were kept to a minimum during all aspects of these projects.  The actual total bid estimate obtained was $653,456.00. This total is the EXTERIOR construction of the building and the parking lot expense together. The cost of the building interior project was never part of the original bid.

Project #1: The Hawthorne Height Parking Lot/Memorial Walkway Project

Bid total obtained as by board requirements: $323,586.00
Total project cost: $310,275.34

Projects #2: The Storage/Concessions/Restroom Facility Building Exterior Construction

Bid total obtained as by board requirements: $329,870.00

Total project cost: $335,689.35

The difference in Project #2 is the change order related to the electrical transfer and relocation of the overhead power supply to a safer underground system. This was done at a great savings to the district by being added to the project.

Project #3: The Storage/Concessions/Restroom Facility Building Interior Construction

The third project at this site is the interior of the building mentioned in Project # 2. The bid obtained for the building was for the completed exterior of the project. Originally, the District received a bid of $500,000 to complete both the exterior and interior as one single project. After careful consideration, the contractor was then asked to bid only the exterior of the building. The district’s maintenance crew was given the assignment to complete the interior of this project. By district personnel handling the construc- tion of the interior, it allowed for major savings of over $82,000 on this phase of the project.

A “fourth project” is worth mentioning and was encountered as the District progressed through the building process. Prior consideration was not given to the removal of the old power line that crossed the project site. After inspection by Ameren and the City of Mexico, it was determined the safety factors involved would force the relocation of the power line underground. This project became a change order and as a result, dramatic savings were incurred by handling the issue as part of the building project. The combined efforts of the District maintenance crew and the assistance from Ameren UE saved the district approximately $47,000 dollars. The system installation also contributes to the overall safety of the MHS campus.

The District’s goals related to these projects were to address deficiencies at the MHS campus site that have needed improvement for many years. Issues relating to the need for more restrooms at Hawthorne heights, the addition of District storage and the relocation and safety issues involving traffic flow of the old concession stand have now been addressed. Another major improvement is the removal of the old bus barn. Its elimination relieved the District of many safety concerns, its location problems, high utility costs and general disrepair of the building.

The District chose to do these projects to upgrade the High School campus with the hope patrons will enjoy them for many years to come. It was also the District’s intent to provide a safe, efficient campus setting that will represent our community with the pride and excellence well into the future.

Submitted by Mexico Superintendent of Schools Tina Woolsey