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ENMU-R, contractor settle dispute

The new physical plant or maintenance building for the campus would replace five Quonset huts now housing facilities, janitorial and shop departments. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Construction planning begins for two capital projects

A protest over a construction management contract for two Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell building projects has been settled.

“We are glad to have the dispute resolved so construction can proceed on renovation of our automotive-welding technology building and construction of our physical plant building in a timely manner,” said ENMU-R President Shawn Powell.

The construction-manager-at-risk contract has been awarded to Bradbury Stamm Construction Inc. of Albuquerque, pending all necessary approvals. The dollar amount of the contract is still under negotiation, Powell said.

The university’s original award decision in November was protested by another bidder, HB Construction Inc., also of Albuquerque.

Powell has said that the company objected to both the process and the decision.

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An internal hearing officer was appointed to review the matter, and a hearing was held with both companies present, Powell said. But HB Construction agreed to withdraw the protest May 23.

That followed the signing of a settlement agreement May 20 by Matt Mulligan of HB Construction and May 21 by Jeff Elwell, chancellor of the Eastern New Mexico University system and president of Eastern New Mexico University in Portales.

Without admitting any wrongdoing, ENMU agreed to pay HB Construction $15,000 in exchange for the company dropping any claims, protests and potential litigation. The agreement also noted that ENMU would not discriminate against HB Construction in future bids.

An HB Construction Inc. representative chose not to comment by press time.

Barbi Towne, project manager with Bradbury Stamm, said that the company has done prior projects with Eastern New Mexico University.

She said Bradbury Stamm will be responsible for scheduling of the project, issuing documents to solicit contractors and subcontractors, and managing the construction process. As a construction-manager-at-risk, the company guarantees that the projects will be completed for an agreed-upon cost. A November legal ad indicated that the maximum allowable construction costs, given specifications at that time, was $6,281,000.

The New Mexico Higher Education Department has authorized about $7.5 million for the two projects, which includes architectural designs and other related costs, Powell said.

Voter-approved general obligation bonds of about $3 million are expected to be used for the renovations of the automotive-welding technology building at 78 University Blvd., used to teach students enrolled in associate degree and certificate programs. That funding still needs final approval of the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration, Powell said. ENMU-R anticipates that the renovations will be completed in 2020.

The Roswell campus will use its own funds to pay for the new physical plant or maintenance facility, planned for West Mathis Street as a replacement for World War II-era Quonset huts. The completion date for that facility is not known yet.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.