New Cape Tech School Bid $12M Lower Than Projected

By: William F. Galvin

Topics: Cape Cod Tech

A rendering of the new Cape Cod Regional Technical High School. Construction bids came in lower than anticipated and work on the new structure is expected to begin in January. COURTESY ILLUSTRATION

HARWICH — The Cape Cod Regional Technical High School building committee has selected Brait Builders Corporation of Marshfield as the general contractor for the new high school construction project.

Brait Builders' $91,376,000 bid was $12 million below the initial construction estimate approved by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) and $8 million below the adjusted professional cost estimate provided for the project, said CCRTHS Superintendent Robert Sanborn, III.

With the MSBA committing to just over 51 percent of the cost of the school construction, Sanborn said half of the $12 million saving will go to the state agency.

The total estimated cost for the Cape Tech project was $128,062,000, Sanborn said, and that will be reduced by $12 million based on the bid. The total figure includes costs over and above the construction bid accepted by the committee last Wednesday, such as architectural fees, project manager fees, furniture, fixtures and technology costs, he said.

Town Administrator Christopher Clark, a member of the building committee, offered the motion to award the contract to Brait Builders with one alternate, which includes the construction of a separate maintenance building for groundskeeping. The initial plan was to contain the maintenance facility within the new school, but Sanborn said they chose a lower cost approach with the external building that will work better for the groundskeepers.

Brait Builders' bid was on of three made on the school construction project. Fontaine Brothers, Inc., the company that built Monomoy Regional High School, was the second lowest bidder at $93,553,000. A third bid was submitted for $95,400,700.

Clark attributed the low bid to the project being the first school to go out for bids for the coming construction season. Construction companies are looking to secure a project to be sure they have work for their crews, he said.

Sanborn said he is familiar with Brait Builders through talking with officials in Bourne, where the company is working on the Peebles Elementary School project. He also said the project architects said all three of the contractors filing bids were well qualified construction companies.

Along with the Bourne project, Brait Builders has been working on a middle school in Barrington, R.I., doing phased construction and improvements at a middle school in Abington and doing demolition and additions to the Center Elementary School in Hanover, according to the company's website.

There is also good news when it comes to borrowing for the project. Sanborn said the plan was to borrow for over a 30-year period at 5 percent interest. Representatives of the 12 Cape Tech towns decided to be more aggressive, pursuing a 20-year borrowing period at a 3.32 percent interest rate. The total principal and interest will be $102 million rather that $168 million, Sanborn said.

“We're very excited about getting started and providing a new generational technical education on Cape Cod,” Sanborn said.

A meeting with the contractor on site was scheduled for Monday, followed by a more formal session a week later. Sanborn said he expects work on the project will begin in January. He does not anticipate any disruption to operations inside the present school during the construction period. The new 220,000-square-foot school will be built to the east side of the present structure. There will be some parking lost during construction and it may require a little more walking from a temporary parking lot, but the school operation will be normal, he said.

The construction project is scheduled to take two and half years, but Sanborn said Brait has a reputation for completing projects early.