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Pine City School Board Selects Construction Management Company for Elementary School Project

The Pine City School Board selected a construction management company during its meeting on January 9 to begin the process of addressing the crumbling Pine City Elementary School building.

The board entertained proposals from five companies during a series of work sessions and committee meetings held late last year.

The five companies that submitted proposals were ICS, Apex, RA Morton, Stahl, and Kraus-Anderson.

Newly elected School Board Chair James Foster said that the goal for each proposal was for the district to gain a proposed fee structure and project duration from each company. Foster explained the scenarios were not a representation of what Pine City Schools were considering. Instead, it served as a way for the board to gain an "apples to apples" comparison of cost and services for each company.

For the board, the ability to build a quality building was less of a concern. They were rather focused on the company's ability to work within the scope and needs of the Pine City community.

"I think that all of them would do a good job of the construction process. That's why they're in business, and that's why they get repetitive business," said Dan Peterson. "It comes down to the whole package. We gotta get the referendum passed, we gotta come up with an idea of what we need, and then get the community convinced with it."

The earliest that residents within the Pine City School District could decide on a referendum is this November, and that is if everything moves in the district's favor.

According to the board, four out of the five companies have an 85% to 90% success rate in passing a referendum. The other company had not yet dealt with passing a school referendum.

The pressure to keep the elementary school project moving forward meant that the board couldn't spend too much time sitting on the information that was previously presented.

"This is coming on the tail end of us touring the elementary school this summer and being appalled by some of the conditions that these children are learning in," said Vice Chair Lezlie Sauter.

"The one constant, and it was pretty much to only constant, of the five companies was, 'you need to make a decision and you need to make a decision now'," Foster said in response to Sauter's comments.

Of the five companies, RA Morton & Associates was nominated for a vote because of their focus on working in rural communities.

Foster told WCMP that RA Morton has no upfront cost to the district. Upon the passage of a referendum, R.A. Morton will be paid up to, but not exceeding, $15,000 for their pre-referendum services.

The board approved going with RA Morton & Associates in a vote of 6 to 1.

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