Snow Hill High Project Close

SNOW HILL — Bids for the renovation of Snow Hill High School (SHHS) have officially been reviewed and accepted by the Worcester County Board of Education.
The total price tag, including alternates, comes in at $39,975,478, nearly $1.4 million under last year’s estimates. If the bids are also accepted by the county next month, renovations could begin as early as January.
Though the bids still need to be accepted by the County Commissioners at their Sept. 3 meeting, school board members were vocal about the fact that the marathon to a new SHHS finally seems to have a finish line.
“I have to say, as a Snow Hill High School graduate myself, the people of Snow Hill have been waiting a long time for this to become a reality,” said Board of Education member Bob Hulburd. “So I understand we’re talking about January about breaking ground and perhaps getting started. That’s awesome. I think it’s wonderful and I just want to compliment you all on what you’ve done so far.”
When the county decided to delay renovations last year due to budget concerns, Hulburd was critical of the decision, citing the age and worsening condition of the high school and the commissioners’ promise that it was a priority. But at this point, a new school seems likely in the near future, with the board pleased by the bidding process, especially since it is clocking in $1,376,500 below the estimate.
Another plus, said Joe Price, Board of Education Facilities Planner, is that this is the first school renovation project he can remember that had bids for every service needed returned in the first round.
“This is the first time we hit all the bid packages for one project without having to rebid one or two because we didn’t get an envelope,” he said.
Price credited the efforts of Oak Contracting in advertising the project and shepherding the bids. As an added bonus, about 40 percent of the contractors selected are based on the Eastern Shore, with the remaining 60 percent on the Western Shore. Minority business enterprise participation in the process had a rate of 13.4 percent, above the board’s goal of 8.6 percent.
“A total of $5,003,981 of the construction work will be executed by certified minority business subcontractors,” said Price.
Next on the schedule is the commission’s Sept. 3 meeting, where it will be asked to also accept the bids. If they do, pre-construction will likely begin in December, with groundbreaking for Jan. 6.