$2 million overage halts Amboy school construction project

AMBOY – Amboy School District Superintendent Joshua Nichols announced last week that the Amboy junior high and high school gym addition is on hold for now. When bids came in for the second bid package, which included 28 different bids, the cost was $2 million over budget.

“Four of those bids had no bidders and several came back with only one bidder,” Nichols explained. “This lack of competition raised the price of the project significantly beyond the current budgeted amount.”

The board had been encouraged by bids on the first bid package, which was very close, if not under budget. Because of that, they moved forward with the groundbreaking.

Nichols said the $2 million overage is unacceptable to the board and it would not be financially appropriate to move forward. “I wish I had better news, but this new reality will have to be dealt with,” he said. “The prudent decision is to rebid the second bid package and begin exploring cost reduction strategies. If those bids are still too high and the cost reduction strategies are not enough, then we will have to explore redesigning elements of the project to bring it back into budget.”

In the short term, the project will remain on hold pending the results of rebidding the second bid package and the exploration of the cost reduction strategies. Nichols said the August 2020 timeline for completion was based on a tight, but possible construction schedule that seemed feasible. This latest development, however, will push the timeline into 2021.

“This is very unfortunate and I apologize, but the district needs to be able to build the best school that it can in the most financially responsible manner,” Nichols said. “As I have more information, I will make it available.”

Nichols said anyone having questions is welcome to contact him by calling the district office at (815) 857-2164.