Scaled down Egan construction scheduled to begin this month

Despite several setbacks, including a lawsuit and budget overruns, construction at Egan Intermediate School is scheduled to begin within the next few weeks.

On the recommendation of Dave McNulty, the director of facilities construction for the Los Altos School District, board members in a unanimous vote awarded the construction bid to Specific Engineering for $9.4 million July 24.

This is the second round of bids for the project. The lowest bid the district received in the first round, which the board rejected June 19, came in $2.4 million over budget.

The project, which has been in development for nearly two years, has met with opposition from neighbors regarding the environmental effects of construction on nearby homes, including increased traffic and noise.

A group of neighbors living on Portola Avenue sued the district in June, hoping to halt construction plans.

The district has continued to prepare for construction while attorneys representing the district and the neighbors discuss the suit.

McNulty expects construction to begin within the month, which puts the district only a few weeks behind its original timeline for the school. Egan is scheduled to reopen in the fall of 2001.

Though Specific Engineering's bid exceeds the $8.8 million originally budgeted for the Egan project, it is significantly closer to the district's target than $11.5 million, the lowest of the original four bids the district received in June.

"We feel we got a good price, considering what the market is," McNulty said. "We could not get a lower price if we bid again."

McNulty said that the district's only alternative to accepting the bid is to redesign the entire construction project and open bidding again. However, district officials are concerned that future inflation in the construction market would exceed the present budget overrun.

District officials did have to change their original plans to obtain the recent bid, forgoing the planned locker and music rooms at Egan.

However, McNulty said that they are looking at ways of including these items in future construction.

As they stand now, the plans only include construction of a new building near the front of the school, to house classrooms and offices, as well as modernization of existing classrooms, according to McNulty.

Although a temporary camp school was built on the campus in June, upcoming construction on the Egan site marks the beginning of the district's first major project in its $94.7 million bond measure to renovate its eight existing school sites and open Covington as its ninth. Voters passed the measure in November 1998.

"We're very excited that we finally have something to work on," McNulty said.

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