The Portland school board unanimously selected Hardypond Construction on Tuesday night to be the contractor for the Lyseth Elementary School renovation project.

Board Chairman Roberto Rodriguez said the vote was 7-0 for the Portland company, which was the low bidder at $14.5 million – about $2.8 million higher than expected. Ducas Construction of Scarborough was the high bidder at $14.7 million.

The board also agreed to spend $587,000 from the Lyseth project’s contingency fund, reducing the overrun to about $2.2 million, Rodriguez said.

Lyseth is the first of four Portland elementary schools to be renovated. The total estimated cost for the Lyseth project is nearly $15.3 million. That includes about $11,732,800 for construction, plus design, permitting and consultant work.

The Portland school board has selected Hardypond Construction to renovated Lyseth Elementary School. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Construction bids opened April 16 came in higher than expected because of a heated construction environment driven largely by a worker shortage and tariffs imposed on building materials.

School staff members have worked with Hardypond and Harriman architects of Portland to identify significant potential savings in the project. The board anticipates saving about $650,000 from a lower electrical contract and about $295,000 from value engineering during construction, Rodriguez said.

Portland voters approved a $64.4 million bond issue in November 2017 to renovate Lyseth, Longfellow, Presumpscot and Reiche elementary schools.

The board also voted unanimously Tuesday to issue requests for proposals now for the other elementary school renovation projects to better manage costs in the future, Rodriguez said.

Linda Stimpson, an ELL teacher at Lyseth Elementary School, works with three second-grade students Tuesday in a hallway that was converted into a classroom. Stimpson used to teach in the school’s modular classroom but had to move her class into the converted hallway along with another teacher. Stimpson said the smaller space has affected her classes but that they have tried their best to make it work. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

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