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Construction has begun for Killdeer Public Schools, but a contract is not yet in place.

No contract set for Killdeer School

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News Dickinson,North Dakota 58602 http://www.thedickinsonpress.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/32/1024/copy-1026-killdeer-1.jpg?itok=TRX3Eu6R
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No contract set for Killdeer School
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

KILLDEER -- Negotiating the final price for an addition to the Killdeer Public School has put construction between the concrete and a hard place, school board officials said at a special meeting here on Tuesday night.

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Work has already begun, but the contract has not been set. Board members did not like the price and were concerned the project was already running behind schedule.

"That was part of the problem was that they started without giving us this guaranteed maximum price and that kind of backed us into a corner," board member Shelley Lenz said.

However, changing contractors at this point would be a hassle, or may not be possible, board members said.

The board was presented with a maximum cost contract of $1.69 million from CA Contracting Inc. of Dickinson to do work on a 10,000-square-foot addition to the school; however, board members said that was too much.

A new multi-purpose room with concessions and restrooms would be part of the expansion, as well as renovations to the high school and elementary libraries.

The school board took bids last autumn for construction that were ultimately declined because they were more than $2 million. The board opted for a contractor at risk project where the project cost was set at $1.5 million dollars and contractors bid on how much work they could get completed for that amount of money.

"I think something got lost in conversation, obviously, about what we are willing to put forth in dollars," Superintendent Gary Wilz said during the meeting.

The school received five bids and chose to work with CA Contracting. Construction crews were mobilized in May, with work beginning in early June, Wilz said.

Multiple board members commented that construction was not on pace with a timeline that was provided from CA Contracting.

"They have stalled considerably I think," board member Carolyn Benz said.

Lenz said she wanted a clause in the contract that for every day the construction is late, the company would owe the school money.

Attorney Jonathan Sanstead of Bismarck said in a conference call that it was common practice for schools to include that kind of "liquidation damages penalty."

"It is about the only leverage a school has when a contractor starts getting delayed," Sanstead said. "Otherwise you are at the mercy of the contractor."

Wilz said most of the funding for the project will come from excess oil revenue that, by law, must be spent, but the higher price would mean less money in the interim fund for the school.

Some of the cost of construction may be cut if the project is not completed by the contractors, Wilz said. Some of the finishing touches could be handled by the school officials he said.

"We have had a lot of experience with that in past years," Wilz said.

The board members decided to further negotiations with CA Contracting with hopes they will resolve concrete prices, liquidation damages and right to complete work through subsequent contracts.

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