Superintendent says most don’t appear turned off by ‘fixed-rate’ in contractual language

    Despite the fact that the language in the request for proposals (RFP) for architectural firms interested in working with the Crookston School District on a bus garage project requires a “fixed-rate” contract, Superintendent Jeremy Olson says interest among architects is enthusiastic.

    Olson is presiding over a large committee he helped form that’s met a couple of time so far to come up with the most sensible bus garage proposal that, the hope is, would be most palatable to district voters who would have the final say at the ballot box. This effort comes on the heels of a ballot initiative for a new bus garage in 2017 that was defeated soundly by district voters, most of whom thought the project was unnecessarily expensive.

    Still, it’s basically impossible to find anyone who thinks the district isn’t in dire need of a new bus garage facility to replace the century-old building located in a neighborhood near downtown, near where Crookston Central High School once stood. Bus drivers preparing for their routes and ending their routes have to snake their way in and out of the extremely tight squeeze, the district can’t buy the newer-style buses available today because they don’t fit inside, and air quality has been a long-running concern inside the current building.

    A committee is interviewing architectural firms who have responded to the RFP.

    “We’re getting a lot of interest, a lot of phone calls, too,” Olson said. “The bone of contention is always the flat fee versus the percentage, but many are saying they’re still interested.”

    Olson said he wanted a flat-fee contract because he wanted to remove any potential motivation for the architects to submit change orders or otherwise increase the budget of the bus garage project, because in doing so that would increase the rate they’d be paid.

    Olson and bus garage committee members Frank Fee, Allan Dragseth and Chris Wahlin recently visited the bus garage for the Lake of the Woods School District in Baudette. It’s around 20 years old, and fits 16 buses in addition to other district vehicles.

    “We saw some interesting things that would help with our process,” Olson said.