The Sherman Independent School District’s board of trustees approved a procurement method by which the district will obtain construction services for the new high school at a special meeting Wednesday. The board formally canvassed the Nov. 7th bond election results during the meeting as well.

After being presented with eight potential procurement methods, the construction manager-at-risk method was chosen by the board. This was the same method to be used for the previous bond. Assistant Superintendent Tyson Bennett said there were two main reasons for selecting this method.

After a $308 million bond failed in the spring election, voters approved a $176 million bond package earlier this month. The bond passed with 2,548 votes for, or 57 percent of the vote, and 1,882 votes against.

The newly approved $176 million package will feature district-wide technology updates, a new high school facility, and the reconfiguration of the middle schools and elementaries to make use of the current Sherman High School building. The new high school will have a capacity of 2,300 students and will be over 453,000 square feet in size. The cost for the new facility is estimated at $157,871,390.

“There were several reasons for choosing the manager-at-risk method,” Bennett said. “Not all of the methods apply to our bond because they are not meant for projects of this size. The manager-at-risk method provides the pre-construction services that we need. It also includes a guaranteed maximum price, which is very important because it puts the liability on the construction manager rather than the district.”

The pre-construction services included in the manager-at-risk method will incorporate the involvement of the construction side in the design process. The district, architect and construction manager will all be involved in the design allowing prices and timelines to be more accurate, Bennett explained.

A guaranteed maximum price provides a ceiling that caps the amount the district is required to pay. That means should the price exceed the agreed upon maximum, the construction manager would be liable for the excess amount instead of the district.

In addition to the new high school being constructed, the bond package will convert the old high school into a middle school. Piner Middle School and the new middle school will then each have room for sixth to eighth graders, thus allowing students to remain on one campus for a longer period of time than is currently possible.

The Building Bearcats Bond Progress Committee is currently being created to provide oversight for the bond projects. The design process will begin immediately and those interested in being involved are invited to email the district for more information.

Sherman ISD selected VLK architects from around eleven proposals back in August 2016. VLK will work with the construction company that is selected using the decided upon procurement method.

Bennett went on to explain the purpose of a procurement method is to help the district begin the necessary process for selecting a company.

“You need to know what path to go down,” Bennett said. “It gets you on the right track and sets the course for you in your process.”

The bond will be funded by a 21-cent increase in the tax rate. For those with a home valued at $100,000 this comes out to approximately an additional $17.50 per month. Tax rate increases were considered between 20 cents and 23 cents. The board settled at the 21-cent increase and said it would cover immediate concerns and allow some work to begin for the future.

The district has outlined a tentative schedule for the next steps in the process. A preliminary construction schedule will be established in December. The preliminary finance plan for the projects is set to be approved in January. A construction manager at risk is to be selected in January as well. The bond sale process will begin in February.