Approved by voters on Nov. 8, Measure B authorizes $50 million in funds for upgrades and repairs to schools in the Plumas Unified School District.
The bond measure provides a windfall to update essential technologies and future infrastructure in order to provide students with modernized classrooms, science labs, career-training centers, equal access to computers, restrooms, improvements to safety and security requirements, as well as upgrading physical education fields and making energy-efficient improvements to reduce utility costs.
Over the next eight to 10 years, money doled out for a variety of public works projects will filter through the local economy, providing financial benefits to communities throughout Plumas County.
PUSD invites local contractors to prepare for bidding on public works projects by following a number of steps in order to be eligible.
Lisa Cavin, PUSD associate superintendent of business services, said that contractors could begin to plan for the bidding process for Measure B funds by first attaining sample bid packets that are available either in the district office located at 1446 East Main St. in Quincy, or online at: pcoe.k12.ca.us.
“We want contractors to have an idea of what the paperwork looks like,” Cavin explained, “and what to expect until the official bid packets become available this summer.”
The sample bid packets let contractors know upfront what’s needed to submit their bids, including requirements for insurance coverage, a valid Contractors State Board license and bond, with no delinquent unpaid wage or penalty assessments, along with workers’ compensation coverage for employees and other prerequisites.
“By offering a sample bid package, contractors won’t feel unprepared to fill out the actual bid packets” once they become available.
“We’re really just at the very beginning of this process,” Cavin pointed out. “There are a lot of prior steps that we have to go through before we start asking for bids,” beginning with a number of community prioritization meetings to get public input.
“These meetings provide an opportunity for people to weigh in and discuss their priorities regarding what our critical needs are in terms of repairs and so forth,” noted Cavin.
She said that they’d be asking staff and students for their input as well. “We’re trying to get as much discussion from the community as we can about what we’re going to do with these funds.”
Additionally, architectural engineering services need to be solicited before PUSD can request bids or break ground on a particular project.
For any projects that require structural changes, Cavin said there is a process with the Division of State Architecture that requires plans and specifications from architects and/or engineers.
For projects such as these, the district will send out a Request for Qualifications for architects/engineers prior to determining the scope of work that will be put out to bid for contractors.
The DSA process is lengthy, which is why larger projects may not be ready to begin by this summer.
“We’ll be focusing on hiring local contractors whenever possible,” assuming their bids are competitive, she added. “Even if other contractors are selected for a particular project, we would highly encourage that they use local sub-contractors.”
That’s why Cavin said the district is working to get information out to let local contractors know exactly what they need to do in order to qualify to perform public works projects, and understanding the bidding process for those types of jobs.
The district currently has a facility master plan that’s on its website: “Basically identifying specific projects in all of our communities at each of the school sites. … Some projects are district-wide, so we know that we have roofing needs, or electrical and plumbing repairs and upgrades at all school locations for example,” as well as specific projects that will be identified at individual school sites such as energy-efficient improvements.
“We definitely encourage contractors and subcontractors who are interested in bidding to pay the annual $300 register fee with the Department of Industrial Relations that’s required to make bids.”
She said the district has had some difficulty in hiring local contractors in the past, because contractors don’t always want to register with the DIR because of the annual fee involved.
As far as project timing goes, “We want to be sure that every community gets something going this summer regarding some minor projects where we can solicit some early bid requests,” but nothing major just yet. “It takes time to get things rolling,” Cavin said.
Cavin estimated that major construction projects probably wouldn’t get underway until the spring of 2018, but possibly sooner.
Continuing, Cavin said, “We hope to partially offset Measure B monies with additional state funding through Proposition 51,” a school facilities bond on a statewide level that matches up to 60 percent of the cost of a project.
“We are not obligated to issue the full $50 million,” Cavin remarked, “so there is a possibility that we could accomplish what we need to do with less of a burden on taxpayers. … We want to be good stewards with the funds entrusted to us by the taxpayer.”
Once PUSD is ready to request bids, the district will notify contractors through advertising and by posting on its website.
For more information, contact Lisa Cavin at 283-6500, ext. 5230; email her at [email protected], or contact Ken Pierson, director of maintenance, operations and transportation at 283-6545, ext. 5507 or: [email protected].