Austin ISD to select bond project delivery method Oct. 23

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Austin ISD’s proposed $1.05 billion bond aims to deliver 21st-century learning spaces to campuses across the district.

In preparation of the bond’s approval, the board of trustees deliberated about a bond construction delivery plan in order to deliver the proposed bond projects in the most effective and efficient way.

AISD Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley Johnson said the Texas Local Government Code requires the board consider a construction contract method other than competitive bidding before advertising solicitations for proposals.

“We are recommending a default method of competitive sealed proposals, job order contracting and cooperatives for the entire bond program, primarily targeted contracts,” Johnson said. “But we are also recommending a combination of design-build and construction manager at risk for some of the projects we want to fast-track.”

Delivery methods include:

  • Design-build—A single entity is responsible for both the design and construction of a facility. Design of discrete packages of work can be submitted for permitting individually, and construction starts early while the design is still ongoing, resulting in a shorter project delivery schedule.
  • Construction manager at risk, or CMR—An architect and a contractor are hired at the same time, well before the design is complete. The contractor provides preconstruction services, including cost estimating, constructability reviews and other valuable input during design. The contractor will provide a guaranteed maximum price, or GMP, for each bid package, of which there are likely to be several for each project. CMR is particularly relevant for projects with complex building and/or site conditions. The work is typically broken up into phases with the contractor providing a GMP for each phase.
  • Competitive sealed proposal—Price and other factors, such as qualifications and experience, are considered in determining the best value for the district.
  • Job order contract—A job order contracting firm or a cooperative firm is used to provide prices for specific tasks as they occur.

Trustee Jayme Mathias said the recommended methods give the district an opportunity to reinvent the way the district constructs projects. Instead of a sealed proposal method, now the district can weigh options on how to contract out a project in a way that is timely and efficient for students, teachers and staff.

“What excites me is that we have a banner in this auditorium saying ‘reinventing,’” Mathias said. “Instead of saying we’re going to do this delivery method because we always have, we’re reinventing the way we do construction.”

The board is expected to take action Oct. 23. The bond is set to be placed on the Nov. 7 ballot.

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Luz Moreno-Lozano

Luz Moreno-Lozano is the Southwest Austin and Travis County reporter. Luz began working with Community Impact Newspaper in April 2017 after serving as the news editor for Cornerstone Publications in Castroville for three years. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 2013.

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