Although there was discussion about the expansion of Sidney High School’s industrial arts department for more than an hour, little progress was made during the Sidney School Board’s meeting Monday night.
After project manager Dave Reynolds, Langlas & Associates, Bozeman, provided a rundown of the proposed project, some trustees expressed their confusion.
“How did it get so big?” trustee Craig Steinbeisser said, adding that the project now costs about $1.275 million.
Trustee Dennis Lorenz noted, “It’s really changed since we started. We were looking at a big open space to build cattle guards and stuff like that.”
Reynolds explained the current design was made after talking with Sidney’s industrial arts teachers about what they wanted for the project.
Board chair Kelly Dey said at first she didn’t understand the layout either. But once she went to the high school’s area, it made a lot of sense. Trustees agreed they need to have a meeting with the industrial arts teachers in order to be on the same page. The meeting was scheduled for Wednesday (today) at 5 p.m.
Lorenz said he didn’t have a problem with the plan, if that is what the teachers need.
Trustee Dexter Thiel brought up his concerns that the subcontractors for the project may not be from the area. He said when people are outside the area, they are less likely to come repair items when needed.
Lorenz said he heard the rumor that subcontractors aren’t going to bid because Langlas is from outside the area. Lorenz added he feels like a “hostage” if that was the case. There are laws to be followed, and the school board can’t award bids only because a company is local.
One subcontractor said it is true that his company isn’t going to put a bid in. Because of past problems with contractors from outside the area, he feels he can keep his employees happy by just working with local companies. He said sometimes it takes threatening letters and five months to get paid. “We don’t have the problem with our local boys.”
Dey explained that the school board does have to follow the law when awarding bids. “We’re not private.” The subcontractors said they understood the school board’s position.
Bids from subcontractors for the project will come to the school and be opened at the school. Reynolds said Langlas tries to be fair and use the responsible, low bid.