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Firm hired to manage school construction


The Grand Coulee Dam School District board has hired Wenaha Group, a native firm out of Pendleton, Ore., and Kennewick, to manage construction of its $31 million K-12 school.

The board reached its decision last Wednesday evening after hearing five firms make presentations earlier in the day.

The firm could receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $420,000 to oversee all construction phases of the new facility,

The fee for services is one calculated by the Office of Superintendent of Instruction according to the size of the project.

There’s still room for negotiations, though. Some phases of what a firm would manage have already been done and the board stipulated that it would award the contract to Wenaha Group subject to successful negotiations.

As an alternative selection, the board voted for OAC, another firm making a presentation.

In its presentation, Wenaha representatives pointed out that the firm has done similar types of projects in Hermiston, Ore., AC Davis High School, Toppenish High School, a US Forest Service headquarters and Benewah Medical Clinic, as well as other projects. Architect Lawrence Rose stated that the firm was known to him and that it would be easy to work with.

After a brief discussion, board members continued narrowing down a selection until they settled on Wenaha Group.

Essentially, a management firm makes certain that the architect’s drawings are followed, all state requirements are followed and that the general contractor and subcontractors provide the best value for the public funds being used.

In its presentation, Wenaha Group emphasized “our job as construction manager is to make sure you leverage this once in a lifetime occurrence to its full potential.”

To accomplish this goal, the firm went on, “to maximize the project’s economic impact by keeping as much of the money as possible in the local economy.” To do this Wenaha proposes to develop a bidding process where small local area craftsmen can bid on the work. The firm also says it will go well beyond the Colville TERO Code to provide as many well-paying jobs and opportunities for tribal members. “As a Tribal member owned company Wenaha Group is a strong supporter of Tribal hiring preferences.”

At another recent project in the area, Coulee Medical Center, a management firm guided that building effort, in the same manner.

The state requires a management firm when public funds are used.

The K-12 project is scheduled to go out for bid sometime in January, 2013, with construction to follow and occupancy in the fall of 2014.

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