Frankfort Independent schools could hire a construction manager for more than $5 million in Phase 3 facility upgrades. 

The school board unanimously approved a motion Monday to put out a Request for Qualifications for a construction manager, which would be a company that would oversee the work. 

“I fell in love with having a construction management company. At first, I wasn’t sure much about it, but I started doing some research and I think it is the right thing to do for our fiscal responsibility as this district,” said Superintendent Houston Barber before the board voted. “This is a lot of money. We are spending a significant amount of taxpayers’ dollars on a great thing and a great opportunity. But why not get the maximum amount?” 

The budget for Phase 3 construction is $5.5 million, which is just under the school district’s bonding capacity, Barber said. 

A construction manager would handle a lot of the day-to-day work and assist the school district in oversight by getting the “highest quality of work for the lowest price,” said Jim Codell, president of Winchester-based Codell Construction. The company has worked on projects across the state, including local projects like the Franklin County Judicial Center restoration and the Kentucky Association of Counties building. 

Codell’s presentation to the board said that having a construction manager on a project can actually save money, usually around 8% of the project cost, as a manager would increase competition among contractors and eliminate subtractor mark-ups. 

If FIS ultimately chooses Codell Construction, the company would have a project manager on-site during construction and conduct regular safety checks. Codell said the company has completed over 100 projects that involve the Kentucky Department of Education. School districts must report any construction to KDE. 

“One thing that your construction manager is in charge of making sure that the most important thing is that what is going on in the classroom is not disrupted and making sure that those in those classrooms are safe,” Codell told board members. 

FIS Board Chair Jina Greathouse said the board is still reviewing possible work to be done during Phase 3, but it seems like most of the work will focus around the F.D. Wilkinson Gym, which was last renovated in 1953. Second Street School and Frankfort High School could see some renovations during the phase. 

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