Construction of a two-story Fort Bend ISD elementary school has halted after district staff noticed an error in the project’s bidding process.

Work on elementary school No. 49 in Richmond was paused Aug. 12 when it was discovered that FBISD failed to properly advertise the “competitive sealed proposal,” or request for bid packages in the newspaper. Oscar Perez, executive director of design and construction for FBISD, said Aug. 15 that the request for bids was advertised on the district’s website in March and 486 vendors downloaded the documents in March.

By Texas law, requests for bid on school construction contracts valuing more than $50,000 must be advertised once per week for two weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county. Perez said bid proposals cannot be due sooner than 14 days after the first advertisement.

“It has been discovered that this step was not completed for elementary school 49, and that the district will be required to conduct a new solicitation process that complies with the advertising laws,” he said.

FBISD awarded Columbus-based Drymalla Construction a $27.6 million contract on May 16 to build the school in Harvest Green. Students living in the 1,300-acre master-planned community in Richmond currently attend Oakland Elementary School.

Drymalla and ICI Construction Inc. were the only two companies to bid on the project, according to district documents. FBISD formally broke ground on ES No. 49 Aug. 11 but on Aug. 12, FBISD notified Drymalla to suspend work after the district could not verify that the bid package was advertised in the newspaper, staff said.

“Our proposed plan of action going forward is to … we have already submitted a very expedited [competitive sealed proposal] process to be advertise,” Perez said.

FBISD advertised the new bid package Thursday and will again Aug. 25. Bids will open Sept. 6 and staff will submit a proposal for board approval Sept. 19.

Perez said FBISD will coordinate with legal counsel to reconcile final payments to Drymalla for work completed.

“We are disappointed that such a mistake was made, and we are thoroughly investigating this matter to identify how and why the bid package was not advertised,” FBISD Superintendent Charles Dupre said in a statement.

Despite ES No. 49’s setback, the board did approve construction contracts for other bond projects Aug. 15. Trustees voted to award $19.5 million for projects stemming from the 2007 and 2014 bond programs.

Oyster Creek, Sienna Crossing, Schiff, Scanlan Oaks and Holley elementary schools will each add 10 classrooms while Cornerstone Elementary will add 12. FBISD will also build a 10,675-square-foot agricultural facility on property between ES 49 and Travis High School, to be accessible via Harlem Road.

Trustees also approved construction contracts for renovations at various schools around the district.