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Webster School Board Approves Contract for High School Addition

The Webster Groves School District Board of Education unanimously approved SM Wilson to construct a new building planned for Webster Groves High School.

Webster Groves High School is getting a little bigger. A planned addition to the school—a three-story building that will house fine arts, social studies and the science program—will be built by SM Wilson & Co., a general contractor based in Missouri.

The recommendation to select SM Wilson was made by Diane Moore, the district's chief financial officer, and representatives from Wight and Company, the architects of the planned addition, at Monday's board of education meeting. SM Wilson presented a bid to construct the building for $21,281,475.

District representatives will be meeting with SM Wilson on Wednesday to determine a date to break ground. Moore said that, weather permitting, they hoped to  begin construction in a few weeks.

"We're happy to get the ball rolling," she said.

The new addition is planned to open by the fall 2012, an "aggressive but not impossible schedule," according to the bid summary.

Recommendations were based on a number of qualifications, according to Moore. "This wasn't just about the lowest bid, but about the best bid," she said.

Financial stability, subcontractor lists, leadership and communications skills, safety records, as well as k-12 construction experience were the primary factors in choosing a general contractor, according to a summary submitted by Moore to the board.

Moore and Ray Propkop, Vice President Director of Construction at Wight, both said that SM Wilson's proactive approach to the process and extensive subcontractor list made them favorites. SM Wilson also submitted substantially larger value engineering alternatives than other bidders. These alternatives, suggested by the general contractor, recommend changes to methods or materials already planned for the construction that will save costs.

SM Wilson offered more than $500,000 in value engineering alternatives which would "not change the layout or look of the building as it is currently planned," Moore said.

Propkop said these kinds of alternatives were important, because it allowed contractors to find bargains that save both them and the district money.

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