Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ground Broken, So Is Meeting in Dispute over Construction Manager

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ground Broken, So Is Meeting in Dispute over Construction Manager

Article excerpt

Ground was broken for the Northwest School District's new high school last week, and a short time later School Board members disagreed about how to select a construction manager. One board member walked out of the meeting.

The ground breaking was scheduled immediately before a special meeting of the Northwest School Board Thursday night. The new school at Highway 30 and Local Hillsboro Road will be financed by a tax increase of 69 cents for each $100 of assessed valuation. Voters approved the tax increase in April in a proposal for a $19.3 million bond issue.

When completed in the fall of 1997, the new school will have room for about 2,700 students. The current high school at House Springs, about three miles to the east off Highway 30, has about 2,000 students. It was designed for 1,500, but the district's enrollment has been growing by 75 to 100 students each year.

Board member Janet Ottomeyer suggested at a meeting last month that the administration's procedure for interviewing firms as construction manager for the new school might be in violation of a 1993 state law that specifies procedures for local governments to follow when construction managers are used. When the project exceeds $1.5 million, the law requires advertising in two major Missouri newspapers for 10 days.

After the district's lawyer gave a written opinion that Ottomeyer was correct, Superintendent William Freeman and Assistant Superintendent Tom Gerling said that the board could choose:

To proceed with interviewing firms regardless of the legal opinion.

To begin the process in which the law would be followed precisely.

To reject all construction-manager firms and hire an employee of the district as project manager.

The board decided to hire an employee of the district with Ottomeyer, Beverly Kuenzle and William Gearon voting against it. Sherrie Werner, Kathy Haas, Ross Kempf and Ann Riley supported the measure. …

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