School board selects construction firm for career center

By Lucas Vance lvance@civitasmedia.com

April 29, 2014

WINNSBORO — Fairfield County’s School Board has selected the construction firm M.B. Kahn to build its new career center.

The Columbia based company was approved by a vote of 6-1. Andrea Harrison (District 1) was the lone vote against M.B. Kahn.

After viewing presentations of the four construction firms in the running on April 8, six of seven board members submitted evaluations scoring each company.

Based on those evaluations, Superintendent J.R. Green recommended the school board pursue a contract with M.B. Kahn to construct the career center.

M.B. Kahn received the overall highest ranking of the four firms vying for the contract.

Trustee Annie McDaniel did not submit a score sheet.

Harrison inquired about an opportunity to have a workshop to discuss the terms of the contract.

Chairwoman Beth Reid acknowledged that the board would be allowed a chance to review the specifications of the contract before it is signed.

“I’m not sure about a workshop, but we certainly will consult with the legal team to make sure we will have what needs to be in there,” she replied. “We will work closely with the attorneys on that matter.”

Reid added that the board would receive a draft of the contract and it would be reviewed in an executive session before it is voted on in public session.

M.B. Kahn has been in business for over 85 years (est. 1927) with an extensive track record for safety.

The company has received recognitions from the S.C. Chamber of Commerce Safety Awards for Commendation of Excellence in 2000, 2001 and 2003 through 2012 as well as S.C. Department of Labor, Licenses & Regulations Safety Achievement Awards in 2001, 2003, 2009 and 2010.

M.B. Kahn has posted more than five million accident-free man-hours over the last five years achieving an OSHA incidence rate of 1.12 and an OSHA lost-work-day incidence rate of 0.13, which are both more than 75 percent below the national averages for the construction industry.

Public schools make up 90 percent of M.B. Kahn’s staff’s work and they have done $2.5 billion worth of work on schools in the past 10 years. M.B. Kahn is a top CM at risk provider with $750 million in experience.

Haley Bowers, a M.B. Kahn representative, noted that the construction firm’s headquarters is just 22 miles from the job site.

“We think that will give you excellent client service because we are just down the street and all of our resources are right here,” she told the Fairfield County School Board on April 8.

Dwight Robinson will be the quality control adviser and has been with M.B. Kahn for over 30 years.

Robinson, a life long resident of Fairfield County, began his construction career in Fairfield County when he attended the vocational school from 1970 to 1971.

“My job will be to see that everything is done by the planned specs and I would be proud to provide the district with good service,” he noted.

One of the main concerns for the school district is that construction will be occurring on an occupied campus.

“One of the things that M.B. Kahn specializes in is working on occupied school campuses,” Bill Cram, executive vice president of M.B. Kahn, stated. “That is a speciality because we recognize the most important thing going on on a school campus is not construction, it is the education of the students.”

M.B. Kahn has worked on more than 100 operating campuses in South Carolina and according to Cram, the company has never had an accident involving students or school staff.

Some of the projects include Spring Valley High School, Richland Two School District (14 schools), Lexington Technology Center, Lugoff-Elgin High School and Rock Hill (three schools).

The new Career and Technology Center for Fairfield County School District is scheduled to begin phase one of construction on June 9 and be completed by Aug. 1, 2015 for the start of the Fall 2015 semester.

The contract for the construction firm is anticipated to be issued on June 1.

Fairfield County School District project manager Rick Stottlemyer said he hopes the guaranteed maximum price will be offered by M.B. Kahn on May 13.

Stottlemyer will act as an intermediary between the district and the builder to ensure that the project was progresses with the District’s wishes.

The total budget for the new career center is $15,589,624. So far, the district has spent $559,671 for surveying, Geo-Technical/OCRM Testing and design fees. Construction of the building is expected to reach $13,809,749.

It is anticipated that the cost for construction of the new career center will be funded by the GO Bond, which was issued in 2013.