Lee College regents met Thursday as the Building Committee to get a preview of bids they will vote on this week for critical infrastructure projects and updates on other construction-related matters.
They got the welcome news that bids came in slightly lower than expected, which should allow for some additional work to be done using funds from revenue bonds.
Stephen Dorman of Sledge Engineering said the bids came in about 15 percent below what was expected overall. Most of the savings was on a site and structural item that includes various sidewalk and driveway repairs.
The bids, though lower than expected, included alternates that were added after the initial posting.
This moves the college forward in projects that consultants and regents consider critical that are being paid for with an $11 million revenue bond approved last year.
A revenue bond, which does not require voter approval, is repaid using future operating revenue, such as building use fees, rather than future tax collections.
One of the major items is the replacement of large transformers that serve one or more buildings. The original project was for replace of five of the transformers, and two more were added as an alternate bid.
Another item will repair overhead canopies, which serve as pipe racks to carry cooling water, steam and other utilities to campus buildings.
In a related project, the bond will be used to replace the fiber optic cable that connects buildings to carry data.
Another project includes renovations to the indoor swimming pool, with new filtration and air conditioning. Dorman suggested regents may want to make additional repairs, such as resurfacing, while the pool is out of service for renovation.
With money that has not yet been allocated from the bond combined with money saved through lower bids, Dorman said that regents have about $1.4 million still available
Building Committee Chairman Gilbert Santana said the committee would be ready next month to start looking at other critical needs that can be addressed with those funds.
In other reports, regents were informed that no asbestos was found in the Gray Science Building, meaning that renovations to that facility can move ahead.
Work includes roof repairs, ventilation work and lab upgrades. The contract calls for four specified labs to be complete by June 3 for summer classes, and the rest of the work to be complete by mid-June.
College President Dennis Brown said he would be retaining Sledge Engineering as general consultants at a cost of $2,000 a month.
The company will provide advice and consultation on projects too small to require hiring a project manager and will assist in determining maintenance priorities.