Guilderland Central School District ended its contract with a familiar company from overseeing construction of an improvements project after expectations were reportedly not met.
During a special meeting Friday, July 11, the Guilderland Board of Education voted to dissolve its contract with Sano-Rubin Construction Services LCC to serve as construction manager for its $17.32 million facilities upgrades and renovations project. Board members then approved contracting with Turner Construction Company for the service. District administrators recommended the change after claiming expectations were not being met.
“We assumed some things this time around were going to work the same as they had in the past,” said Guilderland Assistant Superintendent for Business Neil Sanders. “We felt at this time it was better to switch companies.”
Sanders declined detailing what “expectations” were not being adequately met. He said the district could have more clearly communicated what it expected from Sano-Rubin.
Board President Barbara Fraterrigo said project benchmarks were not being met “efficiently.”
“Neal is very astute and very much on top of things and just was not comfortable with the progress being made,” said Fraterrigo.
A representative from Sano-Rubin could not be reached for comment.
Sano-Rubin changed ownership earlier this year. Sanders said the school district needed to develop its relationship with the company’s new leadership.
The company previously worked with the district, which includes serving as construction manager for a $29.6 million district-wide project, according to Sano-Rubin’s website. This included a 10-classroom addition at the high school, renovating classroom space for district offices and improvements to the five elementary schools, along with technology and security upgrades.
The switch will end up costing the district slightly more, with Sano- Rubin contracted for about $737,500 and Turner Construction for around $755,000, according to Sanders. The district will pay Sano-Rubin approximately $10,000 of its contracted amount for work done to date, said Sanders.
Turner Construction was one of the applicants the district’s Business Practices Committee reviewed for the service. Fraterrigo said Turner was considered “on-par” with Sano-Rubin.
“I think you tend towards the more familiar where you have had a great experience,” Fraterrigo said.
She said Turner is a national company with a “phenomenal” reputation.
Sanders said construction would not start until next spring. The district is going through the design process and must seek state Education Department approval.
The project includes infrastructure upgrades, safety and security improvements, and districtwide technology upgrades.
How facility improvements will proceed must still be determined, because if the district were to close an elementary school then some renovations could be unnecessary.
“Some of the work needs to be done regardless just to protect the integrity of the buildings,” said Sanders.
Before district voters approved the $17.32 million project, district leaders said the then-uncompleted building capacity study could lead to some improvements not being completed.