At a special-called session today, the Auburn City Schools Board of Education approved Bailey-Harris Construction Co. to build a new elementary school on Richland Road.

Bailey-Harris, a company based in Auburn, was the lowest bidder for the project at $14.8 million. Construction is expected to start this month, and the school is slated to open for the 2018-19 school year.

"I'm thrilled that another local firm is going to be able to work with us," said BOE President Tracie West. Rabren General Contractors, a company also based in Auburn, recently completed work on the new Auburn High School, which will open to 10th- through 12th-grade students in August.

Five companies qualified to bid for the new elementary school project, and three companies submitted a bid. The two lowest bids came in close, West said, but Bailey-Harris was ultimately selected as the best option.

"Perkins+Will (Architects) conducted the bid process, the opening of the bids that day, and they took the submissions and analyzed them in detail ... to look and see that they met the conditions," said ACS Superintendent Dr. Karen DeLano.

The Board of Education purchased land on Richland Road for the new elementary school in May 2016. The Facilities Plan 2024, passed by the school board in May 2014, was revised in February to push up the time frame that a new school would need to open to accommodate increasing enrollment on the elementary level.

School administration will also work to rezone the school districts before the new elementary school opens. The Board of Education hired Cooperative Strategies, a consulting firm that worked with ACS in 2014 to develop its Facilities Plan 2024, in April to assist with rezoning options. During the rezoning process, ACS has asked Cooperative Strategies to look ahead at how the zoning districts would be affected in the future, when a second new elementary school is opened as well as a second high school.

The Facilities Plan outlines a second new elementary school, to be paired with Yarbrough Elementary School, to open in 2021. A second high school, for which land was also acquired in May 2016, is not scheduled to open until 2022. 

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