Schools construction contract awarded

The Cayman Islands government has
awarded the contract for construction management for its two new high schools
to a conglomerate that includes Dart Enterprises Construction Company, McAlpine
(Cayman) Ltd., and Arch and Godfrey (Cayman) Ltd.

According to Education Minister
Rolston Anglin, the winning bid to complete construction on Clifton Hunter High
School in Frank Sound and John Gray High School in George Town came in at just
under $2.3 million – much lower than bids received for the work earlier this
year.

The Ministry of Education’s
evaluation committee received five bids for the project and the Central Tenders
Committee approved the award of the contract on Friday, 10 September, following
recommendations from the committee.

“The tender’s scopes of work
provide for the completion of Clifton Hunter first and then an initial focus of
work on the John Gray High School on particular buildings that educators have
prioritised,” Mr. Anglin said in a prepared statement to the Legislative
Assembly on Wednesday morning.

This is the second attempt to find
a construction manager for the schools project. The first tender bid to find a
construction manager, which also attracted five local and international bids,
ended in March. A winning bid was selected but the Central Tenders Committee
did not award a contract. According to records obtained by the Compass, the
selected bid in the initial tendering process was from USA-based Hencel Phelps
of Greeley, Colorado, which submitted a bid of $6.5 million for the
construction management costs.

Once the contract is signed, the
DECCO, McAlpine and Arch and Godfrey construction manager will be responsible
for supervising the trade contractors and day-to-day construction work of both
sites until the projects are completed, the minister told lawmakers.

“While this award has significant
implications for the completion of the new high schools, it also has further
far reaching and positive implications for the local construction industry. I
am pleased to note that the company who has emerged as the successful bidder is
a local company. This will ensure that the money generated through this work
will support our local economy,” he said.

Mr. Anglin added that it was his
ministry’s intention “to sub-contract as many small constructions as possible”.

The total tendered amount for the
successful bid was $2,269,472.

Companies working on the schools
will be required to provide the Ministry of Education’s project management team
weekly with a worker list, which indicates how many of the workers are
Caymanians.

Some sub-contractors have already
carried out interim work at the schools since January to preserve warranties,
protect existing interior works and make conditions at the site safe “with a
goal to mitigating costs going forward”.

The government terminated a
contract with construction company Tom Jones International in November last
year after the company halted work in October, citing a lack of government
funds to pay for the project.

Mr. Anglin told the Legislative
Assembly that the construction manager expected to be “fully mobilised within
the next 30 days”.

The dispute over the original
contract between the government and Tom Jones International is going through
the courts. The government had sought to have an initial lawsuit by Tom Jones
thrown out of court, but last month, Grand Court judge Alex Henderson stayed
the government’s counterclaim against the contractor, on the grounds that the
government counterclaim was brought in breach of a contractual agreement.

Justice Henderson has ruled that
the dispute will need to go to a full court trial.

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