Bids go out for school work

The Cayman Islands government has
issued tenders for the installation of concrete at the new John Gray High
School campus in George Town.

Interested firms were given until 5
August to bid on the works, which include the laying of concrete in three
separate buildings of the school construction project site.

Earlier in the year, Education
Minister Rolston Anglin had stated his intention to get the school construction
projects moving again, and the 5 August bid deadline was an indication that
things were getting under way.

However, there was still no word up
until press time on whether the Cayman Islands government had selected a
project manager for the new John Gray High School, or for the other new high
school campus in Frank Sound.

According to documents obtained
earlier this year by the Caymanian Compass, a total of five local and
international firms submitted bids for the management of both the John Gray and
Clifton Hunter High School projects.

At the time, Mr. Anglin said the
construction manager would eventually oversee a group of subcontractors that
would complete the projects and that there would not be another general

“It’s one or the other,” he said
during an interview with the Compass in February. “You don’t hire a general
contractor and a construction manager.”

Mr. Anglin said the general
contractor was expected to be hired approximately two weeks after the close of
the tendering process. That submissions process ended on 19 March.

According to records obtained by
the Compass, the winner of the initial bids on the construction management
contract for the schools was USA-based Hencel Phelps of Colorado, which
submitted a bid of $6.5 million for the project management costs.

Other firms submitting bids
included Livingston construction, the Phoenix Group, Turner construction and a
conglomerate of local companies that included McAlpine, Dart, and Hadsphaltic,
among others.

Previous reports in other media
that the construction management contract had been granted to Hencel Phelps
were denied by Mr. Anglin, who said a construction project manager had not yet
been selected.

Mr. Anglin and other officials at
the Education Ministry have not responded to repeated calls and emails over the
past week seeking comment about the situation with the construction manager for
the new schools.

The tender advertisement for the
construction manager position stated that the estimated value of construction
activities to complete the two projects was in the range of $60 million to $70

Mr. Anglin has said approximately
$70 million has been spent on the two schools so far. Another $17 million,
relating to project change orders, remains in dispute with Tom Jones
International Ltd.

Tom Jones was the initial project
general contractor that walked off both job sites on 13 November, 2009.  The government terminated the Tom Jones
contracts in December. The company has filed a civil suit against the government
claiming $2.9 million in overdue payments.

Some limited works by project
subcontractors began in late January. The earlier delays will prevent the
schools from being completed in time for the beginning of the new school year
in September.