Cheney Free Press -


Cheney selects project management model


Cheney Public Schools’ board of directors voted unanimously at their May 10 meeting to use the general contractor/construction manager (GCCM) form of project management on two facilities scheduled for renovations from voter passage of a $52 million capital facilities bond in February.

OAC project manager Rusty Pritchard told the board renovation and expansion of the high school, along with relocating the alternative high school Three Springs, meets four of the five state criteria for being eligible to apply to use the GCCM model. The projects involve complex scheduling, phasing and coordination of facilities that must remain open during the work, features a complex design phase where early GCCM involvement can create success and encompass complex or technical work environments.

“More than half of the building (high school) will be touched or have construction going on,” Pritchard said.

Pritchard ticked off benefits to the model, which differs from the standard design/bid/build because the general contractor is selected through an interview process and brought into the project early to collaborative with the owner and the design team in planning and executing the work.

Currently, the Spokane construction market is experiencing an “inflationary cycle” which the GCCM can assist with through financial stability of subcontractors and suppliers. Pritchard also said construction in the Spokane market is dropping, with projects in the West Valley, Mead and Spokane districts wrapping up, but is expected to ramp back up in 2018. Selecting a general contractor this year to come onboard will lock in a qualified firm.

“Spokane has five or six GCCM contractors who are very good and interested in these projects,” Pritchard said.

The model also spreads project risk around among the partners, and at 90 percent of design, the district, construction manager and general contractor should know the “guaranteed maximum price” of the project, reducing surprises and mistakes that sometimes take place when opening bids through the design/bid/build method.

The process requires OAC to develop a proposal they and district officials will take before a state Project Review Committee (PRC) on July 27 in Kent. The PRC will issue a verbal decision on the GCCM request at the end of the presentation, with written notice following within 10 days.

Pritchard said he served on the PRC for six years, and has worked on 10 GCCM projects in the past. This is the first GCCM project for Cheney Public Schools, and Pritchard said the process will require the board to be “savvy” with how it approaches the work.

In other capital facilities related news, school district Superintendent Rob Roettger said he and Director of Finance Kassidy Probert attended the sale of bonds on April 26 in Seattle at the district’s financial firm, D.A. Davidson. Roettger said they were able to negotiate a 3.22 percent true interest rate on the bonds, making the additional rate to taxpayers $5.40 or lower per $1,000 of assessed property value based on future assessed property value growth.

John McCallum can be reached at


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