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Longview ISD to build meat-processing lab

By Richard Yeakley
Jan. 13, 2014 at 11 p.m.

The Longview ISD Board of Trustees on Monday unanimously approved a $2.23 million bid to build a meat-processing lab at the high school.

The winning bid went to RLM General Contractors of Longview. Trustees decided to pay about $182,000 more than the lowest bid to choose a local contractor.

"After looking at the information you brought us, my position is I would still rather go with a Longview contractor than an out-of-town contractor," trustee Jud Murray said during discussion of the contract.

The lab, which will be built on district property just north of Longview High School off Airline Road, will allow students to learn how to age and cut meat. It also will help prepare them for work as a butcher or food service manager, or to enter college and manage a company such as Cargill or Hormel, John Denson has said. Denson helped design the facility and will help lead the courses.

RLM will have about six months to complete the project for the lab to be open by the 2014-15 school year, Assistant Superintendent Lynn Marshall said.

"We have about a million and a half in career technology funds that will go to the building," Marshall said. "Most of these CATE funds were already rolled into the fund balance, but some of it is not."

Flint-based WRL General Contractors submitted an estimate of $2.05 million for the work.

Board President Ted Beard said he was torn between his fiduciary responsibility to Longview ISD taxpayers and his desire to shop local.

"Was there anything that was written into that proposal that binds or holds whoever wins the bid to use (a certain) amount of local subcontractors," Beard asked.

Marshall said there was not.

"I do not have a problem with (paying more) because those monies that we return to the community will come back to us," Murray said.

The Flint-based company had predicted that about 48 percent of its subcontractors would be local while RLM had estimated more than 90 percent of its work being done by Longview crews.

Superintendent James Wilcox said the district had used both contractors and either would do a good job for the district.

"Either one of these contractors will do a fine job. We have ultimate confidence with both of them or we wouldn't have brought them to you," he said.

Marshall added the cost was not fully set, but they would look to complete the contract in the coming days.

During a facilities update earlier in the 2.5-hour meeting, Marshall asked trustees to hold off on repaving the Longview High School driveway.

The project is expected to cost around $900,000 and would redo the lane from the guard shack through the breezeway.

Marshall said in a pre-bid meeting with four contractors, he was informed that a potential timeline – starting on the project in February and completing the work before graduation - may be untenable in light of potential spring weather and traffic in and out of the driveway.

He added that if construction was completed during the spring, the city of Longview would request a letter removing them of liability if the work delayed its arrival to an emergency situation on the campus.

"(The contractors) didn't indicate that doing it sooner would cost that much more," Marshall said.

The board directed Marshall to bid the project, but tell the contractor to wait until June 1 to begin the work.

Marshall added that the bid for placing of new tile at Longview High School is expected to be opened Feb. 4.



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