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A familiar face in Mission will be handling a project in the La Joya Independent School District.
Last Wed. May 13, the LJISD school board held a regular meeting. One of the items under business and finance had to do with renovations for the roof of Rosendo Benavides Elementary School, located at 1882 El Pinto Rd. in Sullivan City.
The item was approved by the Board of Trustees during the meeting, and its passing assigned an architect to the project – ArkiiForm, LLC. The item also said the district would be seeking bids for the renovations.
Charlie Garcia III, a principal architect for ArkiiForm, is named on all the documents in the proposal from the firm. Garcia, the Board President for the Mission Consolidated Independent School District, is currently contracted by the city of Mission as the architect for roof renovation projects on the Speer Memorial Library and the Mission Historical Museum.
“We have several [projects] contracted,” Garcia said. “We’re lucky to have work during this time period, is all I’ll say. We’re a private company – we do our work, that’s all we like to do.”
Garcia said he believes he will act as the lead architect on the project, and because of the standard protocol followed when districts contract services, he is unsure of when the project will begin.
“It depends on how fast the district can contract and go through the procurement process,” Garcia said, explaining that the district needs to go through 14 days of advertising for construction, state statutes and bids. “They awarded the project to me, so I need to negotiate with them on my services with the district, and then I need to produce the drawings once we can get through the procurement process as well.”
Garcia said being awarded the project is just one step in the process, and he still needs a contract with LJISD to move forward.
“But that is the intention, yes, to be the lead architect, lead designer on it,” Garcia said.
According to the item on the LJISD agenda, the state of the roof at Benavides Elementary is near the end of its lifecycle, and over the initial warranty coverage. The membrane also “exhibits major deterioration and exposure in many areas,” and “several roof patched areas are coming apart and roof accessory items such as vents, flashings, and curbs are in need of repair.”
Board President Esperanza Ochoa confirmed that the roof at Benavides Elementary was in “dire need” of repair. Photographs from the school in the project proposal depict stained interior ceiling tiles and patched covers on parts of the exterior roof of the building.
“Teachers have expressed it to us and administration, as well as parents and community members,” Ochoa said, noting they have reached out to the school board with their concerns. “When it rains, there’s always some type of damage done to the infrastructure, to curriculum, instructional material, to personal material that belongs to the staff and students.”
The details on the item state that the budget for the project will cost an estimated $775,000, and the budget source will be the district’s general fund. Board Vice President Mary Hernandez (who also sits on the district facilities committee) stated that the money would be sourced from remaining funds allocated for a district project done by Performance Services, Inc.
“We had our legal attorneys go through the process,” Hernandez said as far as the proposal cost estimate. “Most of the money actually came in from a PSI [Performance Services, Inc.] agreement for one of the locations to be renewed – it was going to be a learning center there in La Joya. Most of the money is from there.”
Hernandez explained that the remaining funds from previous projects were set aside in case there was any mold or additional costs during renovations.
Ben Castillo for O’Hanlon, Demerath & Castillo Attorneys at Law, an attorney for the LJISD, said they gave counsel on the procurement process for the project. Castillo said that as far as he understood, the funds would be coming from reserves from a previous project.
“That’s my understanding as well, that the district got credited some money on some of the other construction projects that are ongoing,” Castillo said, noting he did not have all the specifics on funding and he only helped with the drafting of the procurement documents and language. “They’re going to use that credited money to fund this project.”
Currently, Castillo said they are in the phase of preparing bid documents, and once they are completed, it will go back to the school board to select the contractor. Castillo noted that ArkiiForm, LLC is on the district’s panel of architects.
“ArkiiForm had already started the proposal for it [the project],” Castillo said. “In talking with administration, they [ArkiiForm] had already began the design, so in an effort to save money, the administration recommended ArkiiForm just to continue work, as opposed to hiring somebody new or assigning it to any architect, and them have to start from scratch.”
According to the ArkiiForm proposal submitted with the item, the project would be conducted in three parts, each with a separate cost estimate. As recommended by the district’s facilities committee, LJISD approved a roof overlay.
One of the other options submitted was a complete roof tear-off and replacement, which would cost $950,000. The board opted for the overlay at an estimated $775,000.