The NDP Opposition says the premier has broken a promise by awarding a $900,000 contract for the F.H. Collins school replacement project without going to tender.
MLA Lois Moorcroft asked on April 9 in the legislature if the government would sole-source the contract to design and build the new F.H. Collins to an Outside company.
“This government will go to tender on this project as we do, and we expect to get competitive bids and we expect to move forward,” replied Premier Darrell Pasloski.
But the $900,000 contract recently awarded to Barr Ryder Architects and Interior Designers out of Alberta is not the construction contract the NDP had inquired about.
The firm has been hired only to oversee the project and act as expert consultants to the government, said Cynthia Tucker, assistant deputy minister for property management.
The construction contract is expected to go out to tender this fall, she said.
The budget for construction currently stands at about $38 million.
Barr Ryder was hired as consultant on the project for several reasons, said Tucker.
They are the original architects of the new plans selected by the government for the F.H. Collins replacement project.
They have also acted as consultants on several school builds in Alberta.
The company’s intimate knowledge of the designs and the project makes them best suited for the contract, said Tucker.
“We feel that we’ve selected the best possible solution at this point.”
Barr Ryder will be responsible for developing the specifications for the main construction contract, said Tucker.
It will also oversee, at a high level, the construction of the project.
In essence, it will ensure that the government gets what it asked for and what it paid for in terms of the construction contract itself. “Basically providing us all of that expert advice that we need to move forward effectively,” said Tucker.
As the architectural consultant for the project, Barr Ryder is excluded from bidding on the construction contract. (Jacqueline Ronson)