SUNNYSIDE — Sunnyside School District Superintendent Kevin McKay informed the school Board of Directors on Monday, Oct. 28, that the bids for the Sunnyside High School athletic complex project were rejected and is now looking to redesign so the project can be put up for a re-bid.

The decision comes from bids outside of the school district’s projected budget, which was somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.5-7.5 million, according to McKay.

He added, “The low bid was $8.92 million. It was $1.4 million above what we had budgeted for and so there’s just no way to accept that type of a bid because we don’t have an additional $1.4 million just sitting around that we can allocate toward that project.”

McKay emphasized it would not be in the best interest of the district nor would it be “…financially responsible to take funds from a different source and allocate it to a project that came in so high.”

Working with Loofburrow Wetch Architects on this project, it must be reexamined and readjusted to ensure when it goes back to bid it will be within budget. McKay stated that the wishes of the voters must be kept as a baseline as the project was approved via their specifications.

“We look at what we had the bidders bid on, and then try to figure out ways to keep the project still in the scope of what the voters voted on,” explained McKay.

Not only do above ground items like grandstands and fencing need to be looked at in order to find out the best option for a lower cost, but below ground requirements must also be met.

“There has to be significant amount of drainage in order to support tracks and fields. Water has to drain off of those in a certain way so that the field itself still maintains safety and still maintains the ability to be a long term investment.”

McKay stated this project should last 40 to 50 years, however, he made the comparison, “We can’t go out and buy a Porsche… We’re still going to end up with a very nice vehicle, it’s just not going to be a Porsche.”

He concluded, “That’s what happens in the redesign phase. It’s a reevaluation and reduction.”

Elizabeth Sustaita can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 114 or email esustaita@sunnysidesun.com.

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