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Board Approves Presumpscot Bid

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Board Approves Presumpscot Bid
Posted on 07/21/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Board Approves Presumpscot Bid

At a special meeting on Tuesday, July 20, the Portland Board of Public Education voted unanimously to shift $4.3 million in Buildings For Our Future (BFOF) reserve funds to offset a $4.3 million shortfall for the Presumpscot Elementary School renovation project. The Board then voted unanimously to approve the low construction bid on the Presumpscot project, allowing the renovation of the school to move forward as planned.

Presumpscot is one of four elementary schools – the others are Lyseth, Longfellow and Reiche – covered by the $64 million BFOF renovation bond that Portland voters approved in 2017. The Board recently approved bids for Longfellow and Reiche elementary schools, and construction on those schools and now Presumpscot is slated to get underway this summer. The Lyseth project is on track to be completed this summer.

Board Chair Emily Figdor said Tuesday’s vote marked a significant development in the BFOF initiative. “We’ve reached a major milestone in getting all four schools in the process of renovation,” she said. “I think that’s extraordinary.”

The winning $14.6 million bid by Great Falls Construction for renovating Presumpscot was the lowest of three bids received for the project but it exceeded the budgeted amount by approximately $4.3 million. The Reiche bid recently came in more than $4.8 million under budget, which allowed flexibility to address the funding shortfall at Presumpscot.

The Board held a workshop on July 6 to discuss the issue but made no decision until the District Advisory Building Committee (DABC) could consider various options and make a recommendation. At its July 13 meeting, the DABC voted unanimously to recommend using the surplus funds resulting from the lower-than-expected bid on the Reiche renovation project to move forward with the Presumpscot renovation project as planned.

The shift in funding for Presumpscot still results in a total bid surplus between the three projects – Reiche, Longfellow and Presumpscot – of $521,916. The DABC plans to schedule a subsequent meeting to discuss how best to allocate those additional funds for any project alternates of the three schools.

The district has contracted with Harriman Associates architectural and engineering firm to design and lead all the projects.

View the Board’s July 20 special meeting on YouTube.

The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 60 languages. 52 percent of the district’s students are white and 48 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.