Scott Sherden

Scott Sherden 

The Rochester School Board agreed to hire a construction manager for the list of projects proposed in the upcoming bond referendum.

The board approved a $3.8 million contract with Knutson Construction as construction managers of a plan to build four new school buildings by 2022.

Voters in the Rochester Public School District are being asked Nov. 5 to support a bond referendum seeking $171.4 million for school construction projects. A second question asks for $9 million to construct a pool at Century High School.

The $171.4 million question calls for building a new middle school in a yet-to-be-determined location and a new elementary school at Schmidt Park, and to reconstruct two elementary schools as larger capacity buildings.

The contract covers the construction portions of the bond only, said Scott Sherden, RPS executive director of operations.

“We just think it’s important to get out ahead of this, and if the bond passes, we’re ready to go on the first day,” he said.

The contract is contingent on the bond passing, Sherden told the board.

The contract would cover overseeing the four building construction projects. Other projects, such as the pool in question two and security and safety improvements to other school buildings, wouldn’t fall under Knutson’s oversight. The construction management contract would be covered by referendum revenue, Sherden added.

Big savings

Energy use is down 14 percent in the 14 months since Rochester Public Schools agreed to a contract with Cenergistic to develop and implement energy saving policies.

That translates to a $541,682 cost savings so far for the district.

Sherden and Adam Hanson, the district’s energy specialist, presented the results to the board. A portion of that savings will go to pay Cenergistic for services. The rest will be listed as a district budget surplus, said John Carlson, district executive director of finance. Much of the policies put in place are small, staff-centered changes and curtailing energy consumption when buildings and facilities aren’t in use, Hanson said.

“It needs the cooperation of every employee at some point,” Hanson said.

In year two of the program, Cenergistic plans to enact $765,000 in energy cost savings, bringing the cumulative savings for the first two years to $1.3 million.

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