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Lauren Cottrell, left, media center specialist at Stevenson Elementary School, and Stevenson students give a presentation Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, at a school board meeting on the "One School; One Book" program. Everyone at Stevenson read the book "The Wishtree" by Katherine Applegate.

BLOOMINGTON — Bloomington District 87 officials are reviewing their methods for estimating capital projects after several recent bids came in higher than expected.

At the recommendation of the district administration, the school board on Wednesday rejected bids for upgrades to the Bloomington High School multipurpose field's east entrance and fencing. The low bid of $304,602 was $63,602 higher than the $241,000 allocated for the work.

Superintendent Barry Reilly said administrators will review the scope of the project and likely will return with a scaled back proposal later this spring.

The multipurpose field upgrades project is the latest project for which bids exceeded expectations.

Colin Manahan, chief financial and facilities officer, said they aren't sure of the factors leading to the low estimates. He said they will work with architects and “review our processes on how we estimate costs.”

Bids for renovating the media center at Irving Elementary School, which also includes a related asbestos abatement project, also came in higher than what was initially allocated.

The project cost of $355,849 is $111,849 more than the $244,000 initially allocated. However, the board agreed with the recommendation to accept the low bid from PJ Hoerr and proceed with the project.

We prioritize based on learning,” said Manahan, explaining the recommendation to move forward with the Irving project but not the work at the multipurpose field.

In other business, the board awarded a three-year transportation contract to low bidder Illinois Central School Bus of Joliet. The contract includes an optional extension for two additional years.

The district also received a bid from Durham School Services of Lisle. First Student of Naperville and STA of Homewood expressed interest but did not submit bids.

Illinois Central School Bus has provided District 87's transportation services for 10 years, said Reilly.

“Whenever you have a change in bus transportation, that can create anxiety,” said Reilly. “But there will be no change.”

The fiscal 2020 bid of just under $2.47 million is about a 2.7 percent increase over the current year's cost of $2.4 million. The contract calls for increases of 1.2 percent in FY21 and 1.6 percent in FY22.

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Contact Lenore Sobota at (309) 820-3240. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Sobota

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Education Reporter

Education Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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