Minden Press-Herald

Sep 30th

Stewart closes to big bucks

Stewart Elementary School will be torn down at a cost of more than $204,000 to District 6 maintenance funds, but questions have been raised about the method used to acquire that figure.

"How did we come up with this cost?" asked Frankie Mitchell, Webster Parish School Board member. "Was it bid out?"

At Monday night's board meeting, after discussion on the agenda item began, Mitchell said she has been asked by a local company if it would be possible for them to place a bid for the demolition.

Mitchell was unable to offer the name of the company, but said that she was told the company is licensed, insured and is qualified to remove asbestos.

According to Crevonne Odom, WPSB Business and Finance Director, the board was not required to advertise for bids for the demolition because the demolition will not cost more than $150,000.

"Public bodies are allowed to receive quotes for public works under $150,000," Odom said in a private interview. "Quotes from a minimum of three companies must be received."

Odom said there is no time limit mandated to receive quotes and that notification of quotes is not required.

For public works that will cost more than $150,000, bids must be received.

"You must go through a process that includes advertising it in the paper. It must go online, be advertised for a certain period of time and all of that," Odom said, noting that different guidelines exist for various projects.

"For materials and supplies there is another limit," she said. "The demolition project falls under public works.

"The reason we do not have to bid is because the demolition, the part that is considered public works, will cost less than $150,000," she continued. "We are using Altec, a consulting firm, to receive our quotes for us."

WPSB Superintendent W.W. "Butch" Williams said Altec is an environmental consulting firm that has been used in the past to get quotes. He said he feels the price quoted is fair.

According to Odom, of the total amount paid to Altec, less than $150,000 is dedicated for the demolition. The remaining total is for asbestos abatement and the services of the company.

All board members were in favor of using District 6 maintenance funds to pay for the project as was quoted by Altec, with the exception of Mitchell who abstained from voting.






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