News

Contract lost on $400,000-plus mistake

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

A Tacoma construction firm will not build the new middle school in Federal Way.

After discovering an error in its bid proposal –– and after being awarded the contract –– Leo Finnegan Construction asked Federal Way Public Schools officials that the company be released from the agreement.

Apparently, when the error –– between $400,000 and $500,000 –– was noticed, the company recalculated its bid and realized it could not compete with the other bidders.

Jeff Greene, the project manager, said the request was unusual because it came long after the bids were opened and the contract was awarded.

Finnegan also asked for its bid bond to be returned. Companies put down a percentage of the proposed bid –– in this case, 5 percent of $11.9 million –– when submitting their proposals.

The school district’s attorney was consulted on the matter and an opinion was given that the School Board could agree to release the company and return the bond.

At a meeting July 27, the board agreed the company’s request.

The board awarded a new contract to Bailey Construction of Mercer Island, the no. 2 bidder originally.

The situation has put the project off by two weeks, but Greene, of Greene-Gasaway Architects, said it wouldn’t make too much difference in the overall project. He added the district plans to meet with the new contractor to talk over ways of getting the project back on track. Work could begin on the site as soon as the end of this week.

The new middle school, slated to open next fall on 45 acres near South 360th Street and Weyerhaeuser Way, will be the seventh middle school in the district. Voters approved a bond in 1999 for its construction.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565, mhalliday@fedwaymirror.com

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