• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Construction manager candidates make presentations

Representatives from five companies made presentations to the Woodford County Board of Education last Thursday, Aug. 22, explaining why they should be employed as construction manager for the new high school project. Board members Debby Edelen and Allison Richardson were not present for the work session, and no action was taken on making a hire. Board Chair Ambrose Wilson IV informed the construction manager candidates that the school district does not have a firm timetable for the Woodford County High School project, “but this is a priority and we’ll move as quickly as possible.” Board members Dani Bradley and Sherri Springate asked each perspective construction manager – Packs + Walker, Alliance, Branscum Construction, Codell and Trace Creek – what differentiates their company from others and how they will stay on budget. The importance of budgeting, including cost savings that come with a good turnout of contractors on bid day, and scheduling were emphasized during the presentations. David Rhodes, representing Packs + Walker, talked about the company’s long history before he showed an interview with a principal from Fleming County High School and the district’s schools superintendent praising the company for their planning and “being a phone call away” during a $15 million renovation of a 700-student high school. Additional videos from Menifee and Bell counties included interviews with school leaders lauding Packs + Walker for saving money – getting “the most bang for our buck” – and overseeing successful projects and not interrupting the school day. “We listen to your concerns as well as your staff’s concerns to make sure that you are aware of what’s going on,” said Troy Fraley, a project manager for Packs + Walker. “… Our goal is not to satisfy the contractors, but to satisfy you. And to make sure you’re getting a good, solid job and the most for your dollar.” Matt Gumm, of Alliance Corporation, touted his company’s experience working for 70 Kentucky school districts since its founding in 1975, with 80 percent of its work in construction management coming from repeat clients. Of Alliance’s 270 school projects, Gumm said, 151 are as construction manager. He said its work as a general contractor keeps the company conscious of pricing. “We know because we’re bidding projects every day and staying on top of it,” he explained. Tim Geegan, who would serve as the officer in charge of the WCHS project, said he has been involved with 50 school projects during his career. His team then gave the board an overview of its projects, including Hart County High School and Glasgow High School, where they built new schools on the site of existing high schools. Alliance is currently building Bondurant High School in phases, which Geegan described as being “very similar to what you’re proposing,” with about 95,000 square-feet of academic space being constructed in the initial phase. With its experience working with school districts in Anderson and Scott counties, Geegan said, “We have a lot of experience with the contractor base in this area.” “We’re dedicated to the job. We do what it takes to get it done,” he added later. Branscum Construction Company, in business for 42 years, has done over 140 school projects, according to Steve Branscum. He said his company’s commitment to exceed expectations is proven by its repeat business. “We’ve put together a good, strong team of individuals that have built many schools, has a lot of experience in a project of this size,” said Branscum. Josh Branscum then walked the board through the pre-construction process leading up to the design development stage. Among the Branscum construction management projects was Falling Springs and Recreation Center in Woodford County, he said. He also noted that Branscum is currently working with Boyle County Schools – a repeat customer – on its new $33 million middle school. Garrard County High School was another new construction project with a repeat customer. Branscum has worked with RossTarrant, the architect hired by the board for the WCHS project, on many school projects, Josh Branscum said. “We know we’re only as good as our last project,” said Jonathan Smith of Branscum Construction. Codell Construction, a family-owned company based in Winchester, has focused on construction management since the 1980s, said President Jim Codell. He said his company will not bid on any work, but instead will focus on budget, schedule and quality control for a new high school. Project manager Kenny Davis said he’s currently working with Ross Tarrant on three projects that are “on time and in budget.” He said Codell takes pride in being able to provide budget estimates that will get “the most bang for your buck.” Among Codell’s 100 school projects are George Rogers Clark High School, Floyd Central High School and Boyd County High School. The company was also employed locally for the ongoing Versailles Police Department project and Woodford County Library expansion project, board members were told. Trace Creek Construction has been in business for 26 years, but it’s more relevant for the board to hear from the team that would oversee the construction of a new Woodford County High School, its founder Sam Howard said. David West, president of Trace Creek, said instead of doing an overview of past projects that he wanted board members to get to know the team that will be working with them. “We feel like the magnitude of this project justifies having an onsite project manager and superintendent for the entire duration of the project,” said West. He said Clay Ratliff would serve as project manager working alongside assistant project manager Ridge Bentley and senior superintendent Mike Grayson. “Mike is hands down the best superintendent that I’ve ever been around,” West said. He said Grayson’s ability as a skilled craftsman benefits the project to ensure “it’s been done right.” Howard pointed out that his company has employees “who have been with us for better than 20 years” and “a good … long history” with RossTarrant.

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