Demopolis BOE rejects bids, opens ‘force account’ for DHS project

Published 3:30 pm Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Demopolis City Schools Board of Education rejected bids for the 2014 Demopolis High School renovation project Thursday afternoon.

Superintendent Dr. Al Griffin said the bids for the new geothermal air conditioning units came in too high. The project will continue via a “force account” under the direction and control of the board, meaning the board will act as the contractor for the project.

“We’re going to take quotes for each of the four phases of the project because we can get it done cheaper than the bids came in for,” Griffin said. “We were approved for a force account by the state under Title 39, and we’re taking quotes for the phases now.”

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The four phases of the project are as follows:

•Dig loop fields

•Purchase equipment

•Hire labor to install the equipment

•Hire labor and purchase electronic devices for energy management

The loop fields are the only part of the new air conditioning units that will be in the ground. They are for the pipes, and there will be 176 holes dug at 300 feet deep. After the holes are dug, the geothermal units will be purchased, and the board will hire the labor to install the units.

The final phase of the project is an automated system that will conserve energy in the classrooms with sensors. When everyone leaves a classroom, the sensors will acknowledge that by automatically turning off the lights and raising the thermostat. When people reenter the room, it will adjust accordingly.

Griffin said once the entire system is installed, the energy costs at the school will be cut by 75 percent.

Roger Locke, the school system’s maintenance director, is a licensed contractor, so he will be responsible for getting quotes on the different phases and overseeing the project.

The air conditioning units haven’t been replaced since the high school was built in 1993. The project is being funded through a Qualified Zone Academy Bond that the system received last spring.

The original expected completion date was the end of July of this year, but with delays, Griffin said if everything goes smoothly, the project should be completed by the end of the calendar year.

Griffin declined to discuss a potential price tag because quotes are still being accepted on the different phases of the project.