The Cleveland City Schools system is one step closer to finding a company to construct a replacement for Cleveland High School’s Raider Dome.
A request for qualifications committee has approved all six of the contracting companies which have expressed interest in constructing the new building.
The Raider Dome was demolished in June after serious structural faults were found in the building that had hosted basketball games more than 50 years.
During the June 9 meeting of the Cleveland City Schools Board of Education, the committee was formed to determine which companies would be qualified to bid.
The committee, which met for the first and last time Monday night, consisted of Cleveland Assistant City Manager Melinda Carroll, Director of Schools Martin Ringstaff, school board members Peggy Pesterfield and Dawn Robinson and Hal Taylor, the school system’s director of maintenance and transportation.
Each committee member assigned scores to each contractor in two categories, with 50 being the highest possible score for each category. Then, all the committee members’ scores were averaged to score and rank each company.
Brian Templeton and Kim Chamberlain of Upland Design Group facilitated the averaging of the scores.
The following companies submitted their qualifications to be able to bid:
—Denark Construction of Knoxville, which received an averaged score of 90;
—J & J Contractors of Chattanooga, which received 94;
—Merit Construction of Knoxville, which received 98;
—Retenbach Constructors of Knoxville, which received 100;
—Rouse Construction of Knoxville, which received 97; and
—TriCon Construction of Cleveland, which received 92.
Chamberlain explained he was averaging the committee members’ scores using a computer program provided by the state of Tennessee that assigned numbers to abstract factors like how qualified the contractor is said to be based on state-required licenses.
Since all received scores of 90 and above, Chamberlain said all were qualified to bid.
He stressed the ranking was not meant to say who should be getting the bid to build the Raider Dome’s replacement. Rather, the goal of the meeting was to decide who would get to submit bids for the school system’s consideration.
“The bid still wins the project,” Robinson said. “It weeds out the contractors that can’t do it.”
The date when companies can begin submitting their construction plans to the school system is tentatively Sept. 18, Templeton said.
The final design for the new building is still in the works. Artists’ renderings are expected to be released in mid-August. The new building will sit in the exact spot the Raider Dome did, adjoining one of the existing classroom buildings on Cleveland High School’s campus.
Templeton said it is a “complicated project” because of architectural considerations like having to attach the new building to an existing one. He estimated the building could take 14 months to complete, which means it could be ready for use in December of 2015 or January of 2016.
The city school board is expected to discuss the project’s latest developments during its meeting Monday, Aug. 4.
Once the bids start making their way to the school system, Ringstaff said it will be up to the board to decide on the “cheapest and best” bid for the project.
“The best may not necessarily be the cheapest,” Ringstaff said. “We’ll have to see.”