Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Board approves South roof project

  • The Neosho R-5 Board of Education approved a bid Monday to put a new roof on the east building of South Elementary despite a school board member's concerns about unfair project evaluation and bidding.
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  • The Neosho R-5 Board of Education approved a bid Monday to put a new roof on the east building of South Elementary despite a school board member's concerns about unfair project evaluation and bidding.
    In a 6 to 1 vote, the school board OK'd a $142,950 bid from Kirberg Roofing for the new roof.
    Casting the dissenting ballot was board member Steve Douglas, who first expressed concerns over the fairness of the bidding process during a board work session Thursday. As reported Sunday, Douglas said the district's current bidding policy allowed a roofing material manufacturer, Tremco, to evaluate the project, prepare the specifications and even let it out for bids. This, he said, led to Tremco's "stacking the deck," as they could include in the specs patent numbers relating specifically to their products. Contractors using a competitor's products would then become discouraged from bidding the work, as they would think the Tremco installers have the job "sewn up," Douglas said in an earlier interview.
    Douglas said the district has been using Tremco roofing products in other projects. Shawn Dilday, director of maintenance and buildings for the district, said Neosho schools have used Tremco products since 1998.
    While Douglas said he didn't dispute the quality of Tremco materials, he said using those products discouraged contractors who use materials from competing companies from considering the work. This, he added, could keep the district from getting more competitive bids on roofing Board President Brett Day said he could understand Douglas' concerns with the bidding process, but added the district needed to move forward with this project in order to alleviate the potential for water damage and mold in the building.
    "We are in the process of developing a plan to where we could come up to an independent consultant … that we could develop ways to compare apples to apples or apples to oranges or Fijis to Jonathans, a way to develop alternative bids as you say," Day said. "We're also very concerned about the time crunch."
    Tim Crawley, assistant superintendent of business and finance, said the district has until Aug. 1 to complete the project. He said the district wanted to complete it before classes returned to the school in the fall, as the project would entail the use of cranes and other heavy equipment and hot tar pots.
    Jonathan Russell asked if only Tremco products could be used. In reply, Crawley said others could be substituted. But Douglas disagreed, saying his research indicated that if other materials were substituted, then the project would have to be relet out for bids. This would delay the project into the school year.
    Others submitting bids on the project were RSS Roofing, $172,440; and Joplin Roofing, $166,590. All three bidders use Tremco products.
    Douglas said local contractors he had talked with were discouraged from bidding because they were not Tremco certified. Crawley told the board he had asked Tremco how contractors could become certified, and was told that a contractor has to do two or three jobs under the watchful eye of a Tremco supervisor, who then approves the application if the contractor meets company standards.
    Page 2 of 2 - "Tremco stands by their warranty," said Dilday. "That 15-year warranty isn't on their installers, it's on them. Only the first year is on the installers."
    Board member Phil Wise asserted that the district is not disputing the quality of work and needs to move forward on this particular project.
    "Moving forward, I would like to see the process done a little differently, but I also understand the need to get this done in the timeframe that we have," he said. "I can't imagine us saving an amount of money to justify waiting and taking the risk of having further damage."
    More on Monday's meeting will be in Wednesday's Daily News.
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