VINCENT - The Warren Local Board of Education on Monday approved skipping the competitive bid process on the start of an electrical upgrade at Warren Elementary School.
The board voted unanimously to declare there was insufficient time to carry out the standard bidding process for the replacement of equipment to accept a service upgrade from American Electric Power. A second 5-0 vote approved an agreement with Marietta-based Davis Pickering Electrical Contractors for $90,000 to install equipment to allow a single electrical service to power the building.
"We actually have six separate services at that location," Warren Superintendent Tom Gibbs said, noting the building's system had been cobbled together over the years.
It can take 10 to 12 weeks to order and obtain switching equipment, Gibbs said. The project will require shutting down power at the school for long periods of time, meaning it would be best to do it in the summer. Hiring Davis Pickering now means the company can be ready to go at the same time as AEP.
Gibbs said past work by Davis Pickering has been reasonably priced and the district likely would have ended up going with the company if the job had been bid out.
"They do a lot of work for the district. They're well-respected in the district," he said.
Warren Elementary has had unreliable electrical service for years, Gibbs said, and it was recently determined that the building does not receive three-phase power. AEP has agreed to rectify that, but the district must install new switching equipment.
A complete electrical upgrade of the building is expected to cost more than $1 million, Gibbs said. Additional work will need to be done, but it will either be put out for bids or done piece by piece for less than the $25,000 required for competitive bidding, he said.
In other business
The board approved the retirement of three employees who plan to work another two years under the retire/rehire agreement negotiated with the district's teachers' union.
Little Hocking Elementary intervention specialist Teressa Hamilton, Warren High School speech pathologist Susan Synold and high school science teacher Craig Woods will return to the bottom of the district salary schedule, while also collecting their pensions.
John Nichols, the board's newest member, said he thinks the two-year limit is a good policy, because he doesn't like the idea of retired teachers holding jobs that could go to new teachers.
"I've never been a big fan of the retire/rehire," he said.
Board Vice President Debbie West said it saves the district money while providing advance notice of needed staffing changes.
"I think it works out for all of us," she said. "It allows us to know and to plan."