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Board awards contract for Academic Core

This+artist%E2%80%99s+rendering+shows+the+planned+Academic+Core+buildings+on+the+Fremont+campus.
This artist’s rendering shows the planned Academic Core buildings on the Fremont campus.

This artist’s rendering shows the planned Academic Core buildings on the Fremont campus.

Courtesy of Ohlone College

Courtesy of Ohlone College

This artist’s rendering shows the planned Academic Core buildings on the Fremont campus.

Vanessa Luis, Editor-in-chief

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The Board of Trustees on Wednesday night awarded a contract of more than $126 million to build the new Academic Core Project at the center of the Fremont campus.

The board approved the bid by Balfour Beatty Construction on Wednesday night in a special meeting held after the second bidder, McCarthy, contested Balfour’s bid.

In November, college officials prequalified the two bidders to prepare bids for the new Academic Core buildings. The bids were received Feb. 26.

“Review of the bids submitted identified Balfour Beatty as the responsive and responsible low bidder,” college President Gari Browning wrote in a memo to the board. Balfour’s bid was $1 million lower than McCarthy’s.

However, McCarthy protested the bid award, saying Balfour made a mistake on the bid price and listed incorrect license numbers for subcontractors.

Ultimately, though, trustees sided with Balfour representatives and awarded the company the bid. Balfour’s subcontractors also showed up at the meeting Wednesday to lend their support.

Ohlone’s Academic Core Project, the reconstruction of the heart of the school, was delayed after college officials changed the process to award the construction contract.

The delay is indirectly due to a court’s decision in the Davis v. Fresno Unified School District case. The ruling called into question Fresno’s practice of using a lease-leaseback transaction to build a new elementary school.

Many K-12 and community college school districts have used the lease-leaseback delivery for significant construction projects, because it allows cash-strapped schools to select specific consultants and pay them in increments. Ohlone had planned to use this process.

After the Davis v. Fresno decision, however, school districts have been advised either to put their lease-leaseback projects on hold or to proceed with a different delivery method. Therefore, Ohlone put the Academic Core Project back out to be competitively bid on.

Work is expected to start on the Academic Core in April and be finished by Fall 2018, with the buildings occupied by Spring 2019.

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Board awards contract for Academic Core