Claremont Chooses Firm for Stevens Renovation

Claremont — The School Board last night voted 6-0 to recommend the hiring of Trumbull Nelson as the construction manager on the $12.6 million Stevens High School renovation that was approved by voters March 12.

The Hanover firm’s $737,000 bid to manage the project was the lowest of three submitted to Banwell Architects.

The administration is now authorized to negotiate a contract with Trumbull Nelson and will be assisted in the process by Steve Horton, a construction consultant hired as the school district’s representative for the project.

Also responding to Request for Proposals were Hutter Construction of New Ipswich, N.H., which submitted a price of $1.1 million and Harvey Construction of Bedford, N.H., with a bid of $905,000.

Ingrid Nichols of Banwell told the board that all three firms are highly qualified and had the experience and personnel to take on the Stevens project.

“All three have been around a long time and all three could do this job,” Nichols said.

Among the criteria considered were references, performance on closing out projects, current workload, estimating jobs in terms of costs and recent similar projects.

“They have to be good at fast tracking,” Nichols said.

Trumbull Nelson’s lower fee and the experience with schools buildings set them apart from the other two, Nichols said, adding that the other firms did not have as much experience working on schools. She also said with Jim Odirisio as project manager and Bobby Allen as supervisor of the day- to-day work, along with Horton, it would be the same team that oversaw construction of the new middle school in Lebanon.

“We’ve had a dress rehearsal with the brand new middle school,” Nichols said.

The project has a 15-month timeline with a start date in June as soon as school ends and completion before the start of the 2014 school year.

It was also announced last night that Horton will be the district’s representative for the work being done by Johnson Controls to examine five school district buildings and recommend energy upgrades, including wood pellet/propane boilers, new windows and lighting. Johnson Controls began an energy audit of the buildings this week and will complete its work by the end of May.

In other business last night, Superintendent Middleton McGoodwin told the board he has been in contact with the head of the Claremont teachers’ union, Don Lavalette, and they are looking to start contract negotiations this spring.

“The goal is to have much more time and more opportunity to dialogue and discuss without a clock ticking,” McGoodwin said.

Last year, collective bargaining did not start until October and an agreement was never reached before the School Board had to finalize the warrant for the annual school meeting.

“This is too important to be rushing in the fall and early winter,” McGoodwin said.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at