Tacoma Public Schools chooses Absher for $30 million Wilson construction project

8/5/2015 | TACOMA, Washington

​Tacoma Public Schools Board members voted to award Absher Construction Company the contract for the phase 2 improvement project at Wilson High School.

Recently, the district rebid Wilson’s construction project in hopes for a more efficient and affordable outcome after the project team reviewed previous bid proposals in May that came in $6 million, or 17 percent, over the project’s budget.

With the regional economy expanding at a rapid pace, construction costs have risen dramatically over the last two years as competition for contractors and construction materials has grown. The amount of construction work available for Tacoma Public Schools, along with the construction projects in the Pacific Northwest, has not only increased the demand in the construction market but has also reduced the number of contractors and subcontractors available for current construction projects.

Those rebids were opened July 23, resulting in the recommendation of Absher’s base bid for $29,970,000 million to the Tacoma school board Aug. 3. The construction project, funded by the 2013 voter-approved bond issue, includes:

• A new 28,000-square-foot, two-story academic building to replace the 400 and 600 halls,
• Renovation of the locker rooms and lobby area in the gymnasium and pool buildings,
• Expansion of the weight, wrestling and aerobics room,
• Campus electrical, heating and ventilation system improvements, and
• Off-site improvements required by the City of Tacoma.

Previously, Wilson High School completed a phase 1 reconstruction project in August 2006 that was funded by the 2001 voter-approved bond issue.

The district is making a conscious effort to be fiscally responsible while also committing to the project’s goals and timeline. Through this process, the district’s Planning & Construction department will identify areas for consideration and prioritize the various scopes of work for future consideration based upon funding.

With operations in Puyallup since 1940, Absher has an extensive portfolio of projects throughout the Puget Sound Region. In Tacoma, Absher is best known locally for its work on Tacoma Public Schools projects such as Truman Middle School, Jason Lee Middle School, Lincoln High School and the original Foss High School, as well as Pacific Lutheran University’s Mary Baker Russell Music Center, Tacoma Dome Station and Allenmore Hospital.

Absher Director of Operations, Curt Gimmestad, commented, “Constructing quality schools is one of the ways Absher is committed to building significant community projects. We are excited to be working with Tacoma Public Schools again as they invest in the future for students across the City.”

Now that the contractor has been selected, the next steps will be to finalize Absher’s contract and sub-contractor agreements to start construction in September.

The work will occur in several phases and will not negatively impact student activity or the great academic successes that Wilson High School is currently celebrating.

About Absher
Founded in 1940, Absher Construction Company today is in its eighth decade of operation with a demonstrated tradition of excellence and a commitment to leadership in an ever-changing industry. Over the past 75 years, Absher has grown from a small remodeling company to a large and versatile construction firm performing preconstruction and construction services nationwide. http://www.absherco.com

More about the Wilson Improvement Phase 2 Improvement Project
Goals for this project are to upgrade various buildings at the school, modernize systems, further consolidate the campus, complete the fields’ upgrades and make entries and plazas more inviting. Several phases will occur during school with the least amount of impact and disruption to student activity. https://www.tacomaschools.org/information/departments/planningconstruction/Pages/WilsonHighSchool.aspx