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District to Hire School Construction Manager

September 09, 1993

To avoid the construction problems that plagued the opening of Red Oak Elementary School, the board of the Oak Park Unified School District has agreed to hire a construction management firm to oversee the next phase of building at the school.

Assistant Supt. Stan Mantooth will negotiate a contract with Professional Construction Management of Sacramento and present it to the board for approval Sept. 21. The firm typically charges a flat fee of 8% or less of construction costs, Senior Vice President George Zettel said.

Construction delays on the first phase of Red Oak forced the board to postpone the school's opening until Sept. 20. All other Oak Park students went back to school Tuesday.

The second phase of construction, which will cost up to $1.9 million, includes a permanent building housing a multipurpose room, library and offices as well as a nine-classroom modular building. The second phase is scheduled for completion by the beginning of the 1994-95 school year.

Zettel said his firm replaces the traditional general contractor. It works on behalf of the district and negotiates contracts with all contractors who work on a project.

"Our whole approach is preventive, preventive, preventive," Zettel said. "We wear the hat of the district from the first day that we step on the site."

A construction management company can add 1% or 2% to the total cost of a project, but often can save money by increasing efficiencies or reducing construction costs, Zettel said.

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