PEABODY — The new J. Henry Higgins Middle School will be significantly under budget, based on construction bids the city received from general contractors.
Mayor Ted Bettencourt on Monday said Agostini-Bacon Construction Co. came in with the lowest bid of $68.2 million. Estimates were also provided for alternate pieces of the project, including the irrigation system and terrazzo flooring inside the state-of-the-art school, which would add another $600,000 to the total. That’s still approximately $2.7 million below what the city anticipated for the cost.
The bids were unsealed last week, and Bettencourt expects to formally award the bid later this week. By law, the city has to choose the lowest bidder, assuming all the paperwork checks out. Bettencourt said he is still awaiting proof of insurance and other materials before he can make the award.
Agostini-Bacon has worked on numerous elementary, middle and high schools across the state, most notably the recent Danvers High School renovation.
Bettencourt said he was “very pleased with the proposal.” During a pre-qualification process, the city ran extensive background checks on each of the five firms interested in submitting bids. Agostini-Bacon had glowing reviews, he said.
The architect and project management firm for the Higgins project have also both worked with Agostini-Bacon on previous schools. DiNisco Design Partnerships, likewise, worked on Danvers High.
That project was a tough one with multiple phases, including performing construction while students were at school, Ken DiNisco said. “To their credit, they (Agostini-Bacon) did a very good job,” he said. “It was a complicated project, and everyone is pleased with their performance. Period.”
It’s too early to say what will happen with the anticipated savings, Bettencourt said, but he added that it provides more flexibility if any unforeseen circumstances arise between now and 2016, when the new Higgins is slated to open.