HISD construction projects moving forward

All but one project expected to be under construction contract by the end of 2016.

Houston Independent School District construction projects are continuing to move forward with Sharpstown High School slated to soon become the 16th bond project with active construction underway.

The HISD Board of Education voted Thursday to hire a new contractor for Sharpstown, unanimously agreeing to let district administrators negotiate and finalize a construction contract worth up to $46 million with ICI Construction.

The district terminated negotiations with the original Construction Manager at Risk in July because the bids submitted were too high and an agreement couldn’t be reached on a guaranteed maximum price. The new contractor was selected through a competitive sealed proposal process. Two firms submitted proposals, but ICI was ranked the highest and offered the best value.

The construction contract submitted by ICI is about $5 million over the school’s construction budget, but still within the overall project budget and significantly lower than previous bids.

Sharpstown is one of 40 schools across the district being renovated or rebuilt as part of the 2012 Bond Program. Work on all bond projects will continue to be done concurrently to an external, third-party audit of the bond program, which was approved Thursday by the Board of Education.

Active construction currently is in progress on 15 different bond projects, nine of which are expected to be completed in 2016. All but one of the remaining projects are expected to be under construction contract by the end of next year.

Grady Middle School and phase one of Worthing High School are expected to be the first two projects completed. Both should open in the first quarter of 2016.

Seven more projects are expected to be completed in time for the 2016-2017 school year. They are North Houston Early College, South Early College and Waltrip high schools; Condit and Mark White elementary schools; Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School; and Delmar Fieldhouse.

A bond program progress report will be provided to the HISD Board of Education during a board workshop scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Also on the agenda for the workshop is a discussion of the project-by-project analysis, which found $212.4 million in additional funding could be needed to ensure all bond projects are completed as promised to voters in the 2012 election.

The analysis found that some projects needed no supplemental funding, while others needed significant infusions. The report attributes cost increases to the region’s recent construction boom, which has created a huge demand for workers and materials that affected many surrounding school districts.

The project-by-project analysis and accompanying proposal for additional funding will be submitted to the Board of Education for their consideration during the December board meeting.