Moving earth

Contractors are shown placing the beginnings of a building pad at North Middle School. The work was nearly 95 percent complete this week.

Franklin County’s two new middle school projects are going according to plans and should be finished within budget, according to Construction Adviser Gary Clardy.

Clardy updated the Board of Education Monday about the projects’ statuses and said that, despite a small sinkhole being found on the South property away from the construction site, no further issues are apparent.

“I think we’re in good shape,” he told the board. “I don’t think anything will change, and we should be able to keep it within budget.”

Clardy said the North building pad is 95 percent complete, and rebar to be used in concrete material will arrive this week.

He said asbestos was detected in the North gym, and a Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation inspection will clear the facility to refurbish it.

Clardy said the South building pad is about 85 percent complete.

He said grading work is progressing according to plans.

Clardy also updated the board on the status of a heating and air conditioning system for the Huntland gym.

He added that an independent propane tank is being considered to increase capacity to heat the gym.

The County Commission approved earlier this year to build the two new middle schools at a $40.588 million combined cost.

Robert S. Biscan & Co. from the city of Franklin was selected by the board to do the work at North while SouthLand Construction Inc. of Brentwood was awarded the contract for the South project.

Five construction companies submitted bids to do the work at North with three of them presenting quotes for the South project.

The School Board recently approved a recommendation from Director of Schools Stanley Bean to give the nod to the lowest bidders which were Biscan and SouthLand.

Biscan turned in a $19.6 million base bid quote for North with another $658,000 in alternate work, setting its total at $20.258 million.

SouthLand turned in a $19.98 million quote for the base work at South, plus another $349,700 in alternate work, setting its total at $20.329 million.

Clardy said that, in addition to the base bids, alternate work was included in the overall package.

He said North has an existing wing and a gym that are to be upgraded, which comprised most of the alternate work totals.

Bids were submitted for 10 alternate projects at North and four at South to upgrade its gymnasium and make security upgrades.

Clardy said that although the low bids total $40.588, million, additional costs have been factored in.

He said the design fees added $1.8 million to the cost, plus $2 million has been budgeted for each school to provide technology upgrades.

Clardy said some leeway was also planned in case the contractors run into any issues with soil which could cost additional money to make corrective adjustments to.