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City, school district navigate public bid process after Jefferson City tornado

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The Jefferson City School District has shelled out $2,379,939 in property damage repairs as a result of the May 22 tornado.

The district suffered damage to six of its buildings including Simonsen Ninth Grade Center, Thorpe Gordon Elementary, Jefferson City High School's track and field facilities, the JCHS press box and Miller Performing Arts Center.

The cost of repairs varied from $1,200 at Miller to $1,209,018 at Simonsen, a building the district is considering for demolition.

Image provided by the Jefferson City School District

"Bidding in schools, especially for construction projects, is very restrictive," said JC Schools chief financial officer Jason Hoffman. "It's spelled out not only in our policy but in state law.”

The Jefferson City School District's policy on public contracts can be viewed by following this link.

The chapter of Missouri Revised Statutes that outlines the laws on public contracts can be found by following this link.

Hoffman said the bid process often takes months so that the public can hold the district accountable and get the best service for its tax dollars.

"It ensures transparency, it makes sure that the entities are getting a good product," Hoffman said. "So, I think it’s a good process and it’s something that normally we don’t have a problem complying with."

The replacement of the Thorpe Gordon Elementary School roof was the first major project to complete the bid process when the board of education selected Missouri Builders Service, Inc.

Image provided by the Jefferson City School District

Only one city government project was put out for public bid, given the tornado failed to significantly damage city-owned structures and staff completed much of the repair work.

A series of crosswalk lights, historic lamps and warning signs were in need of replacement and the contract was awarded to Meyer Electric.

The company submitted a bid that was 6.8 percent less than the city's estimate.

Image provided by the City of Jefferson
Image provided by the City of Jefferson
Image provided by the City of Jefferson
Image provided by the City of Jefferson
Image provided by the City of Jefferson

Jefferson City counselor Ryan Moehlman said the price the contractor quotes is not the only factor taken into account when the city council makes its decision.

”We also have to take a look behind the bid, make sure that the bid fulfills all the requirements," Moehlman said. "They’re going to build what we expect them to build and we also do things like a check into their backgrounds and make sure that there’s not a history of not completing jobs or completing jobs way over time. It doesn’t do the public, the citizens of the city any good to have someone who’s cheap but doesn’t get the job done in the way that the citizens deserve.”

The city paid Meyer Electric $169,096 for its work on the street light project.

Article Topic Follows: May 2019 tornado
bid process
jc schools
jefferson city school district
jefferson city tornado

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Joe McLean

Joe reports stories all across mid-Missouri, including our WasteBusters series of reports, and co-anchors ABC 17 News at 9 a.m. with Zara Barker.


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