Boren’s bid for college questioned

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March 12, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Allen County Community College trustees said Thursday they need more information before deciding what type of roof they want installed on three buildings in the Iola campus — and who they want to install it.
Commissioners tabled their decision until this afternoon so they could meet with Iola Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Bauer about whether a proposal from Boren’s Roofing, Inc., would meet the city’s standards.
Gary Elliott, a representative with Benchmark Roof and Pavement Consultants, told trustees that Boren’s bid to replace the roofs of the ACCC academic building, student center and Horton Hall should be rejected, even though Boren’s bid at $569,400 was more than $200,000 less than the next to lowest bid.
The issue comes from the type of material used and Boren’s proposal to taper the new roof slightly in order to improve drainage. The tapering wouldn’t work because of the building’s design, particularly when considering the height of the roof’s flashing in the proposal, Elliott said.
“It violates city codes,” Elliott said. “If the code enforcement officer were to see that, he would stop the project.”
Not necessarily, Boren countered.
“If that’s true, then every building I’ve done up to now is not up to code,” Boren said, adding that he had never been told about the city code until this project.
Elliott, meanwhile, told trustees that the language for the code was adopted in 2006.
In a letter to trustees, Boren said Elliott’s bid specifications calling only for an adhered single-ply roof system differed from other projects because it did not include “approved equal” roofing systems.
The materials Elliott asked for are “obscure and very expensive,” Boren said, which essentially prevented him and other local roofing companies from properly bidding on the project.
Boren said his system would be just as effective or better than the one Elliott is asking for, noting his proposal included a 20-year warranty.
The bid Elliott recommended — for $755,250 from Roofmasters Roofing, Co., Inc. of Colby — included a 10-year warranty, as set by the bid specifications.
“My concern goes to the city codes,” Trustee Spencer Ambler said. “If we don’t follow city codes and something happens, who’s responsible?”
“I would be,” Boren replied.
“My problem is that (Boren’s) is an alternate roof when we told the other contractors that this wasn’t an option,” Trustee Larry Manes said. “We’d be changing the rules after half the players were in the clubhouse.”
A proposal to accept the Roofmasters bid failed on a 3-3 vote. Ambler, Manes and Harvey Rogers voted for hiring Roofmasters. Jim Talkington, Neal Barclay and Jenny Spillman were opposed.
That led to the decision to table further discussion until this afternoon, so the trustees could visit with the city about whether Boren’s proposal violated city codes.
Time is of the essence, noted Steve Troxel, vice president for finance and operations. The college hopes that work can begin promptly as soon as the spring semester ends in May in order for the work to be complete for the start of the fall semester in August.
“If you change the product, you’re going to have to rebid,” Troxel said. “I don’t think the process can be done before May.”
In a related matter, trustees accepted a bid from Boren’s to repair the roof of the Activities Building for $40,600. Boren’s bid was about $3,600 higher than a bid from J.B. Turner and Sons Roofing and Sheet Metal of Wichita. A third  bid was even lower, but was rejected because it provided only a three-year warranty; the other two bids carried a 10-year warranty.

ENROLLMENT growth at the college, at 7 percent above the enrollment for the spring 2009 academic year, triggered a $250 stipend for all of the college’s full-time employees who have been at ACCC for the past year. The incentive kicks in when enrollment growth exceeds 5 percent.
The enrollment growth also has benefited the college when considering the state’s budget plight, Troxel said.
State aid to the college was cut by 12 percent last year, Troxel noted, and although state revenues continue to fall below expectations, he does not see any more retroactive cuts. That’s because any more cuts in higher education funding for this school year would require a waiver from the federal government.
“They’ve indicated to me that the state is not interested in doing that,” Troxel said.
As a whole, enrollment in the state’s 19 community colleges has increased 12 percent over the past year, the same as ACCC’s.
Troxel said that because the state has yet to determine education funding for 2010-11, the college is taking a wait-and-see approach to its budget planning for next year.
“Unless our enrollment goes south, I’m not overly concerned,” he said. “The problem we could see, if anything, is that we still don’t see any projections for a better economy after 2011-12.”
The college already approved a $2 per credit hour increase in student fees for next year. Tuition rates will remain the same, and the board anticipates maintaining its general fund and capital fund mill levies at a combined 17 mills.

TRUSTEES accepted the retirement announcement of Barbara Leavitt, associate dean of institutional improvement. Leavitt has been with ACCC for 37 years. Also retiring is Julie Gifford, an English instructor at the outreach campus in Burlingame. She had been with the college for 15 years.
Trustees also hired Jerry Block in the custodial and maintenance department.
White’s Welding and Fencing Co. of Humboldt was hired to replace a pair of fences at the Iola campus. White’s bid of $10,144.55 was the lower of two received.

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