The Department of Education has reopened its request for contractors to prequalify to bid on cooling projects, including the installation of air conditioners at public schools, as part of the state’s $100 million initiative to cool 1,000 classrooms this year.
The DOE said Tuesday that interested contractors need to first submit a request to participate in the qualification process.
“The goal was to prequalify contractors in order to have them ready to move quickly on the heat abatement projects once funding was in place,” Dann Carlson, assistant superintendent for school facilities, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, numerous contractors were unaware of the prequalifying process despite multiple notices.”
In his State of the State speech in January, Gov. David Ige pledged to cool 1,000 public school classrooms by the end of 2016. Lawmakers approved legislation providing $100 million to fund the work, which Ige signed into law in early May.
In anticipation of the funding, the DOE in March initiated a multi-step process to prequalify contractors for the work, which is to include the purchase and installation of air conditioners as well as electrical upgrades to ensure schools can handle the increased loads and efforts to make schools more energy-efficient to help offset energy use.
As part of that initial solicitation, notices were distributed to more than 3,000 vendors registered on the state’s Hawaii Electronic Procurement System. The DOE says it sent out additional reminders and extended the application deadline twice. More than 500 contractors expressed interest, with 16 contractors meeting the prequalification standards, which included criteria that companies have been in business for at least five years and have a good Workers’ Compensation record.
“To expand the current pool of ‘qualified’ contractors, (the DOE) is reopening the process to qualify additional general contractors with A or B licenses,” the department announced Tuesday.
Emails have been sent to contractors who are registered with the state’s procurement website for construction-related work, alerting them of the new solicitation. Interested contractors can also access the two-step solicitation to qualify for the air conditioning projects and other construction work with the DOE at https://basec.sicomm.net/HIDOE. For more information, call Christian Butt at 808-784-5012.
Carlson has previously said that consultants have analyzed the 33 schools deemed to be the hottest in the state, and have come up with design plans to begin cooling the classrooms in those schools. An estimated 960 classrooms are expected to get air conditioning to bring their temperatures to comfortable levels.
No installation work had started as of Tuesday, according to a DOE spokesman. The first bids are expected to be awarded this week.
Some of the projects that have gone out to bid so far include:
- On May 5: Campbell High (air conditioning, heat abatement) and Ilima Intermediate (air conditioning, heat abatement).
- On May 18: Aliamanu Elementary portable classrooms (air conditioning) and Leihoku Elementary portable classrooms (air conditioning).
- On May 19: August Ahrens Elementary portable classrooms (air conditioning).
- On May 20: Kekaha Elementary portable classrooms (air conditioning) and Princess Nahienaena Elementary portable classrooms (air conditioning).
- On May 24: Nanakuli Elementary portable classrooms (air conditioning); Lahaina Intermediate portable classrooms (air conditioning); Waipahu High portable classrooms (air conditioning); Kahakai Elementary portable classrooms (air conditioning); and Kamaile Academy portable classrooms (air conditioning).