Dist. 205 Hires Company to Oversee Part of Facilities Plan

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- After much debate the Rockford Public School District has voted to hire a company to oversee work on part of its ten year facilities plan.

The debate was over the process the district used to narrow it down to Ragnar Benson Construction to provide management services to the district. Board members brought up the fact that the committee used to select the vendor, varied and sometimes there were more or fewer people on the committee.

Some board members said the process was clumbsy however in the end they still voted to hire the company instead of going with school board president Harmon Mitchell's motion to have the school board select the vendor. Several board members said they didn't want to have to re-do the process and select a vendor, because they felt they weren't qualified to do so or that they weren't familiar with the process.

The contract with Ragnar Benson is for five years and the company will help with scheduling, budgeting and planning, but won't tactually do the construction work. They will help keep things on schedule to make sure school is not interuppted when buildings are upgraded.

Ragnar Benson will not oversee the entire first phase of the plan which is $211 million. Instead they'll only cover about half, $110 million in improvements. The district will do the rest. In total, Ragnar's services will cost the district about $5.4 million for five years.

Chief Operations Officer Todd Schmidt says work with the company will begin as soon as tomorrow.

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