February 9, 2016

School board approves construction management agreement

Mark Taylor


Following a brief discussion on the legality of hiring a construction manager without taking bids, the Gardner Edgerton School Board adopted a resolution to put a $72.790 million bond issue on a 2012 ballot.

Patron Bill Sutton, Gardner, expressed concern about the board’s hiring of Manning Construction to oversee the bond projects without first soliciting bids from other companies.

Superintendent Bill Gilhaus told Sutton that state statute does not require competitive bids for “services” like construction managers.

He said the district instead compared fees with what other districts paid for construction managers in recent months and negotiated a fee with Manning on the “low end” of the spectrum.

The board approved a 5.3 construction management fee with Manning compared with an average 6.5 percent fee paid by other districts for construction management services.


  1. Without a competative bid process I can not vote for this bond issue!

  2. GardnerPride says:

    I’m a bit confused. I understand that the board approved the Construction Management Agreement with Manning, and looks to have received a fair price, much less than local average. What will be the bid process on the actual construction portion of the development? Are we only to take the word of Manning that our money is being spent in the most productive manner? I don’t pretend to know a lot about the world of construction, but I know enough to questions any handshake deals that might happen between Manning and any other company during construction.

  3. How are those contracts worded? Do the citizens have any liability to these companies that got their contracts if the School Bond does NOT pass? What did Gilhaus and the Board of Education do for and to the district families last night? Citizens really need to be thinking long and hard on what this district’s administration is doing, not doing and their voting records – that is my opinion. I will not be voting for that school bond based on the actions and inaction of Gilhaus and the School Board and also because I cannot see how the few district families can afford these overall costs. And on top of that so far the school district has been stonewalling, in my opinion, about giving the people the true total costs of this project and how the money is going to be spent. The people should be ready to enforce some truth in lending and what all the costs are for. It is your government and your dollars so I would encourage all to be involved.

  4. I encourage citizens to read the minutes of the School Board for the period of at least this year. These minutes tell you little and the reason why I went to them with my whole list of questions and they tell me I have to wait until the end of the week for the answers and I should have got answers to all of my questions prior that vote taken last night – that is my opinion. You have a construction manager and then Manning as the contractor to do the actual construction work – I would have wanted bids for both of these entities on this huge project. Get the full details on the property bought for these schools – look at the taxes these people had been paying on these properties and the county appraised amounts vs. what you are paying for the land purchases. A few more people dragging in the dollars on the backs of the citizens in my opinion.

  5. Here is what I got from Bill Gilhaus the Superintendent of USD 231.

    “This Construction Manager contract is not subject to bid requirements under Kansas law because the construction manager will provide only services to the District. In contrast to agreements to purchase products or other materials, services are not covered by the statutory bidding requirements. However, even though this is not a requirement for the Board of Education and/or School Administration it is a priority for this school district to be prudent and fiscally responsible with tax payers dollars. To that end, the district has been involved in contract negotiations with Manning Construction, Inc. for the past seven months. During the January 24th, School Board Meeting Action Item 6.1 Authorization to Proceed with Contract Negotiations with DLR Group and Manning Construction, Inc. Based on the Terms of the Submitted Proposals for Bond Program Planning, Architectural Services, and Construction Management Services addressed Construction Management and Architect contracts and fees. Bill Miller, Director of Operations provided information regarding CM and Architecture fees paid and services rendered to surrounding school districts by different construction management companies in the metropolitan area on bond projects completed during the past 18-24 months. The construction management (CM) fees for new construction ranged from 4.5% to 9.8%. When considering all of the fees for the different projects the average CM fee amounted to 6.5%. The CM fees for additions/renovation ranged from 5.7% to 9.6%. When taking into account all of the fees for the additions/renovations the average CM fee was 6.8%.

    At next Mondays Board Meeting the contract with Manning Construction, Inc. proposes a 5.3% CM fee for new construction projects over $3 million; an On-Time Performance incentive of 0.2%; and a Late Performance Penalty of -0.5%. For projects under $3 million the CM fee would be 5.7% with an On-Time Performance incentive of 0.2% and a Late Performance Penalty of -2.1%.

    As you will note, these CM fees are below the average charged by other Construction Management firms. In addition, the school districts past experience with Manning Construction, Inc. involving bond projects (Pioneer Ridge Middle School, Madison Elementary School, Wheatridge Middle School, and Edgerton Elementary School) from the 2005 Bond Issue were favorable.

    Should you have other questions, please feel free to contact me anytime at 856-2000. GilhausB@usd231.com

    I’ll support the new schools, but I won’t support this project with them only getting ONE BID. It doesn’t make any sense.

  6. How can you support the new schools, Ryan, when you don’t even know what the total cost will be nor what you will be paying for? You might want to give these people a blank check but I don’t and I don’t appreciate them not being forthcoming with the people. I don’t care for done deals as I have stated many times before – done deals are always adverse to the people’s best interests from my experience and I have a few years on you, Ryan, in that area.

  7. Jared Taylor says:

    Go here to the Gardner community page to vote on how you would vote on the Bond issue. http://www.facebook.com/groups/354445995744/?id=10150266002435745&notif_t=group_activity

  8. Jared Taylor says:

    I cannot and will not support any bond issue that ties funding for schools along with sports amenities. It must be understood that only about $40 million of this bond is for the actual building of schools. The rest is for updating and building new sports facilities, laying artificial turf and adding seats to the H.S. Stadium.

    We will have to build new schools. I’m not entirely convinced that we need both of them now but eventually we will. Having not put out this project to bid is a deal breaker and proves that the board is unwilling to do the due diligence to protect the tax payers. The explanation by Gilhaus and the board yesterday was inadequate. Even Ragan said last night that “we are in a friendly bid climate” but then elected to go against his own argument and talk about how this would not be bid out.

    I urge everyone to contact your school board members and tell them you won’t vote for this bond issue in its current form.

  9. Jared Taylor says:

    @gardnerpride, if you look carefully at the original land cost estimates compared to when the buy analysis was done you will see that the cost of land went up some 60%. That’s the way I understand the documents to read and what Jerry Kellogg pointed out on another article a couple of weeks ago. There seems to be something awfully fishy there but who knows.

  10. Bill Sutton says:

    I have three serious concerns about the coming school bond issue. A contract has been awarded for just shy of $73 million… and there was no competitive bid process! My concerns are thus:

    1) Even if we accept as fact that Gardner needs another elementary school and another middle school (which can be and has been argued against), why are we choosing this time of a down economy to add on to our athletic stadium and build an aerobics facility? These are by no means integral to education, and though they might be nice, they need to be funded separately. This bond is going to be billed as necessary “for the children.” “You want good schools, don’t you?” But a substantial portion is going to our non-educational facilities. I’m all in favor of a bigger stadium, since I can never find a seat at a football game either, but in this time of shrinking budgets, I hardly think it’s a priority.

    I recommend that the “extras” be removed from this bond before consideration. Put them to a vote separately, if you wish. If the voters decide to pay for the aerobics center, by all means, build away. But don’t bill it as necessary for quality education in Gardner.

    2) My second concern is the process through which this contract was awarded. I got kind of a mixed answer on this one at the School Board meeting so bear with me. Apparently, some kind of a survey was done of recent school construction projects in our area to determine was “felt” like a reasonable cost. Then Manning was asked to bid, since they had built a couple of our other schools. Did Manning compete for the contracts on the other schools they built? I don’t know. Has Manning ever handled a project this size? No.

    It seems to me that when you’re asking the public to ante up $73 million, it’s irresponsible to “feel” like you got a “fair” price. You had better be absolutely positive you got the best price before you stick out your tin cup.

    3) My last major issue is the type of construction delivery method chosen. With a Construction Management Agreement (CMA) the contractor is not bonded and the subcontracts are held by the school district. Any price overruns are on the school district, not the construction manager. The contract with Manning does cover us somewhat in this regard, with a penalty for late completion, but budget overruns after the initial subcontracting phase are still ours to treasure. For the 2.1% fee, it’s very possible we could have negotiated an “at risk” contract that would have shifted the overrun burden to the contractor.

    Because of these concerns, I have a very hard time supporting the bond issue this January. In fact, I find myself longing for the parliamentary vote of “no confidence.” Why don’t we have that here in America?

    The big loser here is our kids. I actually do believe that we need at least the new elementary school, but I can’t support this irresponsible use of taxpayer money. It’s about the principles, and principles matter.

  11. Here is some additional information from Mr Gilhaus, who so kindly tried to contact me at home and then emailed me the following information. I appreciate him reaching out to try to explain.

    Ryan, it may be beneficial to clarify there are two kinds of construction managers: an “agency” CM and an “at risk” CM. An “at risk” CM essentially does what a traditional general contractor does–it enters into an agreement with the owner to build a project for a guaranteed maximum price, and enters into subcontracts with others for the work. Those kinds of CM agreements must be competitively bid, because the CM is essentially acting as a general contractor.

    An “agency” CM, on the other hand, acts as the owner’s agent in managing and coordinating the construction process, but does not actually contract to do the work. Instead, an “agency” CM simply provides professional project management services to the owner of a project, in exchange for a fee. That is what we are contracting with Manning to do. However, all of the construction work anticipated by the District for the upcoming projects will be competitively bid, as required by Kansas law.

  12. Well, it looks like Coach Deiner and his wife sure have got their input on what they want the citizens to pay millions of dollars for and it has absolutely nothing to do with education. Once again this Board and Gilhaus tell you what their priorities are in my opinion and citizens, also, need to be thinking long and hard if they have the money for sports rather than education and what is really important to them.

    I don’t like the whole mess – the money paid for the land, the contracts given, the exorbinant costs, no information about the total costs when you include interest on the bonds, how long the bonds will be for, will the present bond we are paying for be rolled into this new one or will we have two bonds going at the same time, how will we pay for all the other necessary things that go with these schools such as teachers, administration people, janitors, maintenance of the property, equipment, furniture and on and on and on. And on top of that all of this moving forward and the people have not even had the opportunity to vote on the issue – do you honestly think they are going to change the bottom line or what they want in the project that much to make the project acceptable???? I highly doubt it – it will be another Dictator deal and the huge bill will be given to the people to pay and a bill which they cannot afford to pay – citizens better think long and hard before they put their stamp of approval on this done deal – that is my opinion. Then you will have costs given to you by your city to cover the costs of roads on this project. And remember the worthless politicians will still be taking care of the special interests with sweet deals and they won’t be paying what they should for the needs of the community – the burden will be placed on your backs as always. And your Board of Education is doing nothing to protect you in that area either.

    Here is an article that all should read and be reminded that college is a whole lot more than football and so is life. Few youth go on to have a career in sports so, in my opinion, our youth better be getting a good education in high school and be prepared for college and what awaits them in the real world.


    KU loses RB Smith as he fails to pass ACT
    The Wichita Eagle
    More Wichita Heights running back Dreamius Smith signed with Kansas, but he won’t be a Jayhawk after failing to pass the ACT, Heights coach Rick Wheeler said Monday.
    “His grades were fine,” Wheeler said. “In fact, his grades were above the minimum on the sliding scale. He tried and tried and tried. He took the test so many times and he couldn’t get it (passed). He took it every time it was available for the last 18 months.”

    Smith has been on the KU campus this summer taking classes. Wheeler said Smith will make a decision quickly on which junior college he will attend; players report in early August. He will play in the Shrine Bowl on July 30 in Hays.

    Smith did not return a message seeking comment.

    “It’s the real world, that’s what it is,” Wheeler said. “We all face setbacks and challenges and this is just going to be his road, his path. He certainly has the skills and the talent it takes to be successful at whatever level he plays. He’s just got to stay focused and keep working.”

    Smith, who led Heights to an undefeated record and the 2010 Class 6A title, had 1,837 rushing yards on 143 carries and had 34 touchdowns.

    Smith (5 feet 11, 215 pounds) was a difficult back to tackle because of his strength, but it was also his speed that helped him become one of the state’s best players his senior season. Smith was the anchor on Heights’ 2010 Class 6A 400-meter relay team.

    He had 286 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the 6A title game, Heights’ first football championship. He also was a key player in Heights winning three straight 6A basketball titles.

    Posted on Mon, Jul. 18, 2011 05:19 PM

  13. And here I thought Gardner Pride was sheeple? Look at you asking questions, nice work!

  14. kirk pyle says:

    If you support this bond , you are only supporting the EGO of an overzealous football coach and superintendent. Spending this much money on “sporting frills” is totally ridiculous, and just shows the arrogance of the administration and how much power the STARSTRUCK citizens of Gardner have given to said football coach. Lets go back to the 3 R’s.

  15. sick of the politics says:

    You go Kirk!! That said, Bubba is the pride of this town in the sports arena and everyone who knows him and his family wish him only continued success. He had a great supporting class of teammates that gave the town a lot of pride and they were fun kids to watch grow up and play sports. They’re gone! There is no class that is coming up to replace them and certainly no one to replace Bubba. Let’s see if the sports stands fill up this year or the next like they did for Bubba et al. Let’s see what the economy does. Let’s not be Shawnee Mission and in 15 years be closing schools. We CAN just re-align boundaries until we see what our enrollment numbers are and what the intermodal and economy will bring vs. trusting a lying supt. and BOE that is star struck with his ability to lie to your face and keep smiling. Let’s do an audit, which the NEA asked for and was denied. He has overspent and is relying on this bond to save his a##. Wake up Gardner and get involved if you want to want to do what is right for our children and their education.

  16. sick of the politics says:

    Ryan, don’t be fooled by his “niceness” he is a liar and condenscending. He has an agenda or he would not be going out of his way.

  17. Gardner Citizen says:

    Did research over the weekend and found out that we have Johnson County Park & Rec in at least 3 of our grade schools taking up space. Let them get their own building and free up space for kids to be taught in. I know this is a convenience for parents but if we need the space use it for what it was built for. The three schools are Madison, Moonlight and Gardner.

    I am for bond issues but only when we use our resources wisely and not to puff up arrogant administrators. I will vote no on this issue until we see a proposal that takes care of the necessities and not the fluff.

  18. GardnerPride says:

    Good info Citizen. What exactly are they using the space for? I had no idea they were in the schools during regular sessions.

  19. Gardner Citizen says:

    See below

    Early Childhood Development Centers (Ages 3-5 years old)
    Our programs focus on self-awareness, motor development, self-selected activity, pre-academic skills, and creative arts along with field trips, classroom visitors, and special events. We are equipped with a variety of learning centers that encourage the young child to explore and understand his/her environment. Through the gentle guidance of our caring and experienced teachers, each child is able to achieve realistic goals specific to individual needs

  20. @sick of the politics says:

    A liar with an agenda, you say? No worries. I’m sure Ryan can hold his own.

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