Only one construction company submitted a bid Thursday to modernize Cave Spring High School, and it came in $17 million more than budgeted to the disappointment of Roanoke County school officials.
The lone bidder, Branch and Associates, offered a base construction bid of $48.49 million. The bid process had been open for 45 days prior to the deadline. As recently as Tuesday, county school officials had been expecting as many as three bids for the project.
The company also offered to complete additional projects not included in the base bid, including the installation of resilient terrazzo tile for $435,000; a soccer field for $275,000 and a greenhouse for $135,000.
The Roanoke County School Board budgeted approximately $31 million for the base construction, and $37.5 million for the total project.
After the bid was unsealed, school board chairman Jason Moretz said he believes school officials will need to take a step back to regroup, and discuss available options with the district’s architects, Spectrum Design.
George Assaid, the school district’s director of facilities, said the district’s construction committee may negotiate with the company to see if there is any way to reduce construction costs and bring the project within budget. Assaid is also a county supervisor representing the Cave Spring District.
The renovation was scheduled to begin this month. The district had announced a delay in the project as recently as April after asking architects to modify design plans to improve security. The modifications were based on two independent analyses of the site and building designs.
Officials have also recently discussed relocating the bus parking lot at Cave Spring High School to the grass overflow lot near the softball and baseball fields at Hidden Valley Middle School, a move that early estimates suggest would cost between $800,000 and $1 million, according to Assaid. Paving the 52-space lot would likely require approval from the Roanoke City Council for a special-use permit.
The district already has settled on another major logistical decision: where to send Cave Spring ninth-graders. The students will remain at Cave Spring Middle School while renovations proceed.
Cave Spring High was built in 1968 and is one of the last schools in the county scheduled to be updated. The most recent county high school to be renovated was Glenvar in 2016, at a cost of about $28 million.
An open house is set from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the high school, located at 3712 Chaparral Drive. The intent of the open house was to offer alumni, students and other residents one last chance to tour the high school before renovations begin.
Renderings and other plans for the upcoming project will be on display for the community to view during the open house.
Roanoke County schools’ construction committee previously told the district to move ahead with plans for a 27-month renovation plan. Best-case scenario, staff said, is students can move from mobile classrooms into the building sooner than that, by winter 2019.
The county school board’s next regular meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. June 12.