Bentonville community college considers contractor for next building

Posted: November 2, 2017 at 1:07 a.m.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/JASON IVESTER Students walk across campus on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville.

BENTONVILLE -- Northwest Arkansas Community College will use a construction method for its next building to protect the college from paying more if the project goes over budget.

It will be the contractor, not the college that will "eat the cost" if it exceeds the established guaranteed maximum price, said Jim Lay, executive director of facilities and construction management for the college.

Board Meeting

Northwest Arkansas Community College’s board will meet at 4:45 p.m. Monday in the Peterson Auditorium of the Shewmaker Center on campus.

Source: Staff Report

The guaranteed maximum price is created in the "construction manager at risk" method, which will be used to build the Integrated Design Lab.

The Land Use Committee unanimously agreed Wednesday to recommend to the board Nabholtz Construction be the general contractor for the project. The board meets Monday.

[EMAIL UPDATES: Get free breaking news updates and daily newsletters with top headlines delivered to your inbox]

The construction manager at risk method brings the general contractor and project architect together for the design and construction process instead of the more traditional process where a project is designed, bid and then built, officials explained.

Under this process, the general contractor and architects work closely and the general contractor is regularly talking to subcontractors about the design, which allows them to be prepared to give a more informed bid when the general contractor asks for bids, Lay said.

"I don't know if it saves you any money, but I'll tell you this: You get a lot more for the dollar you spend," he said.

The general contractor is selected based on qualifications in this method rather than a competitive bid in the traditional method.

Nabholtz was one of 10 companies that applied for the project, said Debi Buckley, vice president of finance and administration.

College officials are looking at opening the Integrated Design Lab in fall 2019.

The building will house the workforce construction management and visual arts programs because they have similar needs in terms of tools, resources and ventilation.

The programs will equip students to enter the region's workforce, said Joe Spivey, committee chairman.

"We have to keep in mind jobs ...that's the end goal," he said.

The building will be in the middle of campus, just west of the Becky Paneitz Student Center. The 2014 campus plan designates the site for a building.

"We are in the planning stages," Buckley told the committee.

Officials estimate the building to be about 24,000 square feet and cost $5 million.

The building will be paid for with local taxes. The college sets aside one-third of the millage revenue it receives from the Bentonville and Rogers school districts for capital needs.

Officials are also talking to potential donors, according to Buckley.

Committee member Howard Slinkard asked if the design and material will make the building consistent and compatible with the other buildings on campus.

"Absolutely," NWACC President Evelyn Jorgenson said. "That's one of the first things we told the architect, that we have a beautiful campus and any addition to that campus has got to continue the design, color, the overall aesthetics so it looks cohesive."

The idea is for it to stand out on its own as a unique facility but still look and feel as though it is part of campus, Buckley said.

Lay also gave an update on the Interstate 49 widening project just east of campus. The right-of-way for the highway is within 10 feet of the Shewmaker Center for Global Business Development, but the highway will be at least 75 feet from the building, he said.

Widening I-49 from Southwest 14th Street to East Central Avenue should be finished sometime in mid-2018, Lay said.

He also went over plans for the city to extend Eighth Street west to Water Tower Road, which will also eventually be widened. A roundabout will be at that intersection, and a street light will be installed a few blocks south of it.

Access points into the college on the west side will also be modified, Lay said.

NW News on 11/02/2017