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Bids open for Willmar elementary school site preparation

Willmar Public Schools will build a new elementary school at the intersection of Lakeland Drive and Willmar Avenue, near the Pheasant Run neighborhood in southeastern Willmar. (FILE | TRIBUNE)

WILLMAR — Site preparation work for Willmar’s new elementary school will begin next month.

Bids for the first phase of the school were opened Thursday afternoon at the Willmar Education and Arts Center.

The contract is to be awarded at the School Board’s June 13 meeting. Groundbreaking for the project will take place that day, too.

The next bids, for the shell of the building, are expected to be opened in late June.

The school is the largest project in a $52.35 million package of construction and improvement projects for Willmar Public Schools. The plan was approved by the district’s voters in May 2015.

The elementary school will be located on land near the intersection of Lakeland Drive and Willmar Avenue in southeast Willmar. The building will be directly east of the Kandiyohi County Family YMCA.

The building will house students in grades K-5 and also includes pre-school classrooms.

R.A. Morton Construction Managers of St. Cloud has been hired to oversee the work on district-wide projects that include science classroom additions at Willmar Middle School and added gym and physical education space at Willmar Senior High.

The improvement program also includes remodeling in the district’s other buildings and $9 million in past-due maintenance projects. The bid amounts will be posted on the company’s website early next week, said Stephen Plantenberg, project manager for R.A. Morton.

Fourteen contractors expressed an interest in the project, and four submitted bids.

“That’s common this time of year,” Plantenberg said, because some contractors may already have work for the summer.

All four bidders are “solid, competent firms,” he said. The construction management firm will review the bids and conduct preliminary interviews with apparent low bidders in the coming weeks.

The bidders were Quam Construction of Willmar, Duininck Bros. Inc. of Prinsburg, Reiner Contracting of Hutchinson and Kraemer Trucking & Excavating of Cold Spring.

The projects are being bid in smaller packages, giving local contractors a better chance to bid on the work. It worked on the Middle School project, where roughly two-thirds of the work was won by contractors within 30 miles of Willmar.

Work “is advancing nicely” on the Middle School project, Plantenberg said. In addition to the science classrooms, the school will gain an expanded cafeteria, roof repairs and a new sprinkler system and fire walls.

Plantenberg said steel for the additions will be delivered June 6, after the end of the school year. Everything has gone well so far, he said, and the project is very close to its original schedule.


Willmar schools work on attendance boundaries for new elementary building

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

(320) 214-4340