Last week the Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 board officially hired a construction manager to oversee the $6.5 million construction project school officials hope to complete next year. 

The school board approved a contract with the Mount Prospect-based firm Nicholas & Associates to manage the project, which will include the construction of a new parking lot, tennis courts and bleachers that will replace Shuey Stadium, which will be demolished. The plan also calls for building a new locker room building beneath the new aluminum bleachers as well as replacing some portions of the roof of the high school.

The district still must get approvals from the village of Brookfield to go ahead with the most controversial portions of the project, the construction of a new parking lot and tennis courts on the field just north of Hollywood School.

The contract the board approved is a guaranteed-maximum-price contract, known as a GMAX contract. This type of contract caps the price the district will pay, which forces the construction manager to bear the risk of cost overruns.

“Once 90 percent of the bids are in, the construction manager will set a guaranteed max price for the project. It is then his responsibility to ensure the project does not exceed that price,” said District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis in an email.  

“It really forces the construction manager to manage the sub[contractors],” said District 208 school board member Tim Walsh at a meeting last month.

In exchange for bearing the risk of cost overruns, the construction manager is paid a higher fee — 4.75 percent of the value of the project instead of the 4-percent fee the firm would be normally paid without a GMAX contract.

“You’re paying more, but we’re buying insurance on a $6.5 million project,” said board member Ed Jepson.

District 208 did not use a GMAX contract on its renovation and expansion of the school several years ago despite the urging of some members on the short-lived Citizens Advisory Council to do so.

Bids will be sent out in two phases. The first set of bids is being prepared and will be sent out next month. A bid opening is scheduled for Jan. 6, Construction Manager Joe Papanicholas told the school board at the board’s Nov. 11 meeting.

“We’re off and running,” Papanicholas said, adding that there will be two bid phases.

Papanicholas said he hopes demolition of Shuey Stadium can begin this winter. The tentative start of construction is March 23 with a goal of substantial completion by Aug. 1, Papanicholas said.

Removal of lead and asbestos from the existing concrete stadium and locker rooms will have to be completed before Shuey Stadium can be demolished.

Because of the work on the stadium, the girls’ soccer team and boys and girls track teams will have to find alternative venues for most home games and practices next spring, Skinkis said.

District 208 school board President Matt Sinde said communication with Hollywood School, Riverside Elementary School District 96, and neighbors will be ongoing.

“We want to make sure we over communicate, not under communicate,” Sinde said.