November 7th, voters could approve or disapprove Idaho Falls School District 91’s $110 million bond. Some are saying the district is doing a “no bid bond,” meaning they have hired the design and construction management without going through the bidding process. However, the district says this is not true.
“Typically there is no bid because there is nothing to bid on,” George Boland, Superintendent of the D91 school district, said. “So for professional services those are not contracts that someone bids to do a scope of work is. Those are done through RFQ’s. That’s the way it’s done across the state of Idaho, that’s the way it’s done in Utah. That’s the standard practice.”
Idaho lawmakers put this process into place about three years ago. The district says there are two parts to a bond process.
“One is pre-bond and the other is post-bond, assuming that your bond passes,” Boland said. “The pre-bond phase is where you get enough design to occur, say 35 percent, so that there can be some cost estimating around that. That’s how you establish what it is you’re going to need to bond for. So that’s kind of the pre-bond piece of that. And then the post-bond would be further development of the plan, the designs, ultimately resulting in construction documents which the CM uses to put together bid packages which then go out to bid.”
So while they hired teams to help bring the idea to life, the bidding process will take place if the bond gets approved. The district says doing the bulk of the work after the bond is approved is the most cost effective way.
“So you wouldn’t take it to the extent that you would actually have construction documents prior to having the bond because then you’re spending a lot of money on something that might not happen,” Boland said. “So, you take it as far as you need to in order to come up with a pretty good estimate of what you’re going to need in order to do the construction and then you refine that after the bond passes and you know you’re going to go forward with the project.”
The Bonneville School District also used this process for its most recent bond.