McCarthy wins LLHS project bid

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The Los Lunas Board of Education awarded the $24 million contract to build Phase II of Los Lunas High School to McCarthy Building Companies.

The Los Lunas Board of Education awarded the $24 million contract to build Phase II of Los Lunas High School to McCarthy Building Companies.

The second phase of construction includes approximately 105,000 square feet of new buildings and renovation of about 12,000 square feet of existing buildings.

“We are pleased to be named contractor for Phase II of the Los Lunas High School project,” said Lee O’Connell, the project director for McCarthy’s New Mexico office.

“Our qualifications and proven track record for delivering on schedule were clearly critical in the decision, and we think this decision also signifies how much owners appreciate the certainty we deliver for projects,” he added.

School officials had rescinded the contract last month when they learned McCarthy had paid a $125 skeet shoot entry fee for one of the district’s bid evaluators prior to the bidding process.

Antonio Sedillo, the district’s construction supervisor and a member of the evaluation committee, was placed on paid administrative leave pending disciplinary action.

The district didn’t exclude McCarthy from rebidding because Sedillo was just as guilty, and it wouldn’t be fair to punish McCarthy, said School Board President Charles Tabet.

“We couldn’t punish them — our employee should have known better,” Tabet said. “It’s partially our fault. We did just as much wrong as they did. If it was all them, it would be a different story.”

Tabet would not comment on the disciplinary action Antonio Sedillo received because it is a personnel issue, he said.

A new request for proposals was issued on Nov. 9 and closed on Nov. 19. A new evaluation committee was formed to score proposals from Gerald Martin, Bradbury Stamm, McCarthy Builders and Jaynes Corp.

McCarthy and Jaynes Corp. received the highest scores with 141.87 and 135.56, respectively. McCarthy’s bid for the project was almost $24 million and Jaynes was $23,032,000, an $800,000 difference, but McCarthy rated the best for the project.

“Going for the lowest bid isn’t always the best thing to do,” said Superintendent Bernard Saiz. “You have to look at the overall package … It’s about who can make the case that they are the best company for the project. The committee expressed that they were very impressed with Jaynes as well, but McCarthy just out-scored in the final presentation.”

Board Secretary Sean Gibson was not at the meeting in person but participated by telephone. He made the motion to accept the recommendation to award the contract to McCarthy, and with a 4-1 vote it was approved.

Board member Georgia Otero-Kirkham was the only vote against awarding the contract to McCarthy.

“I know they did a really great job (on Phase I),” Otero-Kirkham said. “I know they’re going to do a really great job (on Phase II), but I believe somebody in New Mexico can build a school as good as somebody from Arizona.”

Dispute over McCarthy’s residency was an issue when it was awarded the contract for Phase I of the project more than a year ago.

Bradbury Stamm protested MCarthy’s residential contractor preference, but in September 2012, a New Mexico Tax and Revenue Department hearing officer ruled that McCarthy Building Companies is eligible for the resident preference.

A spokesperson for the company, Patty Johnson, said that while the corporate headquarters is in St. Louis, Mo., there are offices nationwide. McCarthy Albuquerque is employee owned, and has been since 1980.

“McCarthy Building Companies is 100 percent employee-owned,” Johnson said, “and 92 to 100 percent of the subcontractors hired on New Mexico projects are New Mexican subcontractors.”

The company is highly invested in the success of their projects, O’Connell said, not only because they take pride in their work as employee-owners, but also because the schools, hospitals and water treatment plants they build are located in the communities where they live, serving their families and friends.

Hopefully, construction will resume by Dec. 31, said Vicki Parker, director of purchasing for Los Lunas Schools.

It takes about two weeks to get new contracts in place, issue the purchase order and get all the documents signed before a notice to proceed is issued, she said.

Completion of Phase II is scheduled for April 2015. The total high school rebuild project costs about $60 million, with 80 percent of the bill paid by the state.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.