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Board picks new construction firm

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By Molly Haines

Members of the Owen County Board of Education met April 28 to choose another construction company for the middle school project, which was delayed when problems arose with Quantum Construction’s bid.

Members of the board voted to select D.W. Wilburn Inc. for the project. The company is located in Lexington and has completed projects that include the Pulaski County Public Library and Bryan Station High School in Lexington.

Wilburn was the lowest bidder after Quantum Construction, with a total bid of $15,135,000 minus the direct owner purchase orders. The estimated cost of the project is $19,023,836.

Owen County School Board Superintendent Mark Cleveland said due to problems with Quantum Construction’s bidding process, the board chose to go with another general contractor.

“We definitely could’ve gone with Quantum,” Cleveland said. “But I thought if we were going to have problems with them right out of the starting gate then it would be best to go with another company.”

Cleveland said Wilburn’s paperwork was correctly submitted to the architect, Ross/Tarrant, which aided the board in choosing the company.

“All of their paperwork checked out the first time they submitted it to Ross/Tarrant during the bidding,” Cleveland said. “Their sub-contractors were kosher and everything looked good.”

Cleveland said he feels confident in choosing Wilburn as general contractor for the project.

“You’re always going to second guess yourself,” Cleveland said. “I’ve spoken to several superintendents in other counties who had chosen Wilburn for different projects and they seemed positive about them. They have a good track record.”

Cleveland said ground breaking on the project could begin soon if all necessary documents are approved by the Kentucky Department of Education.

“All documents have been sent to the Kentucky Department of Education,” Cleveland said. “They have up to 10 days to approve all the documents and let us know that everything is right. We can’t do anything without their approval. If there’s something lacking in the documents I’ll get a formal letter telling me there’s a problem.”

Cleveland said his main wish for Wilburn is for them to build a quality building that will help students  further their education.

“I want Wilburn to produce a school that improves instructional opportunities,” Cleveland said. “I want this new school to improve the students’ education, but I also would like to see the school improve Owen County as a whole, in the long run.”