Nanaimo school district officials have selected a construction manager to oversee seismic renovations at Wellington Secondary School and hopefully break ground on the project this summer.
In February, the province announced funding of $22.6 million toward the $24.6-million project, with the remainder coming from the district’s restricted funds.
Last week, trustees approved staff’s recommendation to award the construction manager contract to Unitech Construction Management, a Lower Mainland-based company.
The company was selected from nine firms that responded to the district’s request for proposals process based on a combination of experience and price. The contract – the third lowest quote received – is worth $378,725 plus GST and will include various reimbursable expenses such as hiring a safety officer and site superintendent.
Chad Dalrymple, the district’s energy and capital projects manager, said Unitech was chosen because of its extensive project management experience with both schools and seismic work.
He said the manager oversees the construction process and advises the district on scheduling and how to proceed with different phases of the project.
“We need someone who understands the construction business to deal with the trades,” said Dalrymple. “They are our eyes and ears on the ground.”
The next step is for Unitech to determine what work can go forward this summer, he said.
Wellington consists of six sections – one central block that houses the school library and five outer blocks that house classrooms, shops, a gym and administrative spaces. The five outer blocks require seismic upgrading, including demolition and replacement of one classroom block, and the roof over the central block will be replaced with a lightweight alternative.
The plan is to start by building a new section onto the school to replace the one that needs to be demolished and with the new space, students can be moved around the school as other blocks are upgraded.
Dalrymple said there will be a new entrance facing Departure Bay Road – the current entrance is off Mexicana Road.
“It’s going to be more of a grand entrance,” he said. “It’s going to look dramatically different.”
The district has told the province that the project will take three years to complete.