Cape School Board approves plumbing, heating, cooling work for new Franklin Elementary

Friday, May 6, 2011

Claims of greater energy efficiency lost out to the low bidder Thursday in a contest for a million-dollar building project in the Cape Girardeau School District.

At a special meeting, the Cape Girardeau School Board, with a four-member quorum, unanimously approved the bid of just over $1.4 million by Jackson-based River City Mechanical Contractors Inc. for combined plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning work at Franklin Elementary School, set for construction. The total building project is budgeted to cost $10 million, with the new school slated to open by the start of the 2012-2013 school year.

River City Mechanical won the three-contractor bidding contest despite bid information from competitor Langford Mechanical and Sheet Metal Inc., also of Jackson, claiming its heating and air-conditioning system would prove more efficient.

Langford's bid included the use of a Daikin variable refrigerant flow system. Daikin claims its HVAC equipment would provide a 10 percent annual energy savings versus the Mitsubishi VRF system, included in River City Mechanical's bid package.

The designer, however, was unable to confirm that information, according to a letter submitted to the district by John Heidbreder, project director for McCarthy Building Cos., the construction management firm for the district's $40 million schools improvement project approved by voters more than a year ago. Still, the Mitsubishi system is 10 percent more efficient than others, according to testing from the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, the Arlington, Va., trade association that evaluates and certifies HVAC equipment.

In the end, however, the low bid today more than makes up for any energy savings down the road, according to Heidbreder.

River City Mechanical's bid of $1,407,024 came in nearly $79,000 less than Langford's proposal, and $86,506 less than third bidder. De Soto, Mo.-based Sheet Metal Contractors Inc., as noted in Heidbreder's letter.

"It was discussed that even if the Daikin system provided a 10 percent energy savings as claimed [not validated by independent data] that the return on investment on a $1,000 to $1,500 annual energy savings would be in excess of 50 years," Heidbreder wrote.

The plumbing and HVAC bidding process was held up a few weeks due to "irregularities" in the first round of bids received March 22, according to the letter from McCarthy Building Cos. Those bids were formally rejected April 1. New proposals were received on April 12.

"Time is of the essence on this project," said Jim Welker, superintendent of the Cape Girardeau School District.


Pertinent address:

301 N. Clark Ave. Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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