G-R hires Waterloo firm for facility project

Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s facility improvement project took another step forward recently as the district approved a bid to hire a Waterloo firm to act as the construction manager for the district’s renovation project.

During the board’s regular meeting on Oct. 18, Peters Construction Corporation was selected among a group of three bidders for the management role. The Waterloo-based company entered a low bid estimate of $563,500 to provide services to the district through the planning stage, pre-construction phase and the construction phase of the project.

During the meeting multiple board members spoke in favor of Peters Construction citing word from other districts that projects they’ve been involved with previously were executed smoothly.

Over the past year the school district has been at work analyzing the facility needs of the district, particularly that of the 100-year old secondary school that was built in 1921.

In collaboration with Align Architecture, the board is working toward a renovation project that will address several facility needs in both the secondary and elementary buildings in Reinbeck, though the exact scope of the project is yet to be determined.

The ballpark estimate the district has been working with is $22.5 million.

Peters Construction will begin work with the district in helping to organize the renovation options available and to illustrate how each might affect the project budget.

Should the project be approved by voters, Peters Construction would then assist the district by providing cost analysis, reviewing and coordinating construction contracts, developing a master schedule for the project, implement the contractor bidding procedure, schedule contractors and oversee the job site once work begins.

Smith said once Peters Construction gets on the ground with the district, a timeline for community engagement in the project should become clearer.

It is expected that community focus groups and information sessions will be organized in the coming months, though no dates have been announced.

One key difference between the proposal submitted by Peters Construction and that of the high bidder, Miron Construction of Cedar Rapids, was that Miron pledged to coordinate much of the marketing and community engagement services for the project and Peters Construction indicated they would not offer those services.

At the meeting Smith spoke to the board about contracting with the Donovan Group, a Milwaukee-based public relations firm with an office in Iowa, to handle outreach and marketing for the project once the group is closer to a final option.

Smith said the Donovan Group and it’s Iowa partner Jerry Gallagher came highly recommended from the Dike-New Hartford school district who have contracted their services for communications work and in 2020 passed their own capital improvement bond referendum.

The cost for services from the Donovan Group are priced by month and would be $2,500 per month for services including video production or $2,000 per month for services without video production.

Gallagher previously worked with nearby South Tama schools on a 2020 referendum that sought to replace the district’s middle school building. The $29 million project failed to reach a supermajority before voters in March of 2020 and is now being worked on again for a second vote this coming March, though the Donovan Group is no longer affiliated.

At the meeting Monday, G-R board members were generally in favor of utilizing Donovan Group PR services as they would come in much cheaper than services offered by Miron Construction, whose bid for construction management and communications services was just over $1.2 million.