AP NEWS

Five ‘major Players’ Picked to Bid on Leading LHS Project

April 7, 2019

LOWELL -- The Lowell School Building Committee is moving toward selecting a construction management firm for the high school project.

On Thursday night, the committee voted to invite five firms to submit detailed proposals for the project.

The firms -- Consigli Construction, Dimeo Construction, Gilbane Construction, Shawmut Design and Construction and Suffolk Construction -- all met the prerequisites to move to the next round of the bidding process.

“These are major players,” Mayor William Samaras said, referring to the firms’ work in the industry.

A selection committee comprised of six members appointed by City Manager Eileen Donoghue determined that the firms were eligible to move forward.

The $343 million project includes the construction of a new freshman academy and gymnasium, as well as renovation of existing buildings downtown.

According to Samaras, the existing buildings will be completely renovated so that those inside the complex will not be able to differentiate between the new and refurbished buildings.

“It’s not a paint job,” Samaras said.

The Massachusetts School Building Committee, which is expected help fund the project, is expected to vote on the project next week.

The project has been a contentious one. In 2017, the city debated renovating and expanding the current high school, or building a new high school at Cawley Stadium.

Though the City Council initially backed a project at Cawley Stadium, a city election swept several new downtown supporters onto the council, and the council soon changed it’s choice.

The construction management firms have until May 2 to submit complete proposals to the city. Once the proposals are in hand, the firms will be further vetted through reference checks, interviews and the like. The process will get into “a lot of nitty gritty detail,” according to committee member James Cook.

“This will be an exhaustive process,” Donoghue said.