WACO, Texas (FOX 44) — After hours of discussion during Thursday night school board meeting, Waco ISD school board members made a 4 to 3 vote to approve the contract for CORE construction for Tennyson Middle School project.

On Thursday night, Waco ISD board members approved Core Construction to be the contractor for the Tennyson Middle School project.

However, the decision angered a lot of local subcontractors. They felt their time was wasted, because they didn’t feel like the district considered them.

“I don’t understand why WISD can’t work with the low bidder,” says a concerned resident.

“Contractors, are not from Waco. They don’t know Waco. You all guys know Waco,” says an concerned resident.

Local subcontractors argued that the district should have considered someone from Waco.

“You know, we’re not going to show favoritism. We’re not going to do anything like that because, you know, then that really hurts a district,” says Waco ISD Chief of facilities and operations Gloria Barrera

FOX 44 reached out to Waco ISD Chief of facilities and operations Gloria Barrera, and she says the board had other factors to consider when deciding which contractor to go with.

The board had to consider the price, quality, reputation, financial status, and safety record. One local subcontractor who was considered wouldn’t have been able to complete the project by the required date.

“Question saying that we couldn’t meet the timeline, didn’t agree to make. We are here tonight because we did not get a phone call. We are here tonight because no one would return a phone call,” says a concerned resident.

Local business owners and citizens have voiced their concerns saying they didn’t want their local tax dollars going out of the Waco area again.

“Just because a local general contractor did not get this bid. Doesn’t mean that local businesses will not be working on this job,” says Barrera.

Barrera says over a hundred million dollars have gone back to local businesses with previous projects.

At the March 2022 Regular board meeting, the Competitive Sealed Proposal (CSP) delivery method was approved for Tennyson Middle School.

The CSP delivery method allows the district to select the contractor that provides the best overall value including price, schedule, quality, and other criteria.

The Administration worked closely with O’Connell Robertson architects and District counsel to refine the Request for Proposal (RFP) package, which included a copy of the construction contract form. In September 2022, the RFP for Tennyson Middle School was issued.

A pre-proposal meeting was held on October 6, 2022, at the Facilities & Maintenance Building with 3 potential bidders and several trade contractors in attendance.

Two sealed proposals were received on October 25, 2022. Both proposals were slightly over the District’s desired base bid amount.

The proposal evaluation committee included representatives from Purchasing, O’Connell Robertson, and Waco ISD Facilities and Maintenance Department.

The committee thoroughly reviewed the proposals from each contractor. This included contacting references and reviewing each contractor’s approach along with the qualifications of the contractor’s proposed project team.

At the completion of the evaluation process, CORE Construction was identified as the highest ranked proposer. O’Connell Robertson contacted CORE on behalf of the District, notifying them that they were the #1 ranked proposer and requesting a list of proposed cost reduction items to bring the project within budget.

Through subsequent negotiations with CORE, the base bid has been reduced by $900,000 to
a total of $67,000,000.