The Sherman Independent School District board of trustees approved the ranking of Cadence McShane as the top firm for the Construction Manager at Risk position in charge of construction services for the new high school during a meeting Monday. Also approved was the delegation of authority to the superintendent to negotiate a contract with Cadence McShane.

In December, the board delegated authority to Superintendent David Hicks to seek qualifications and proposals from CMAR via a two-step method. The request for qualifications was posted on Dec. 19 and SISD received eight responses. From those eight, five firms were selected to participate in the second step of the process.

For the second step, a committee reviewed the responses and selected Balfour Beatty, Buford-Thompson, Cadence McShane, Pogue Construction, and Steele & Freeman. The committee interviewed these firms on Thursday.

Hicks said it was difficult to choose between the top ranked firms.

“What I’m really proud of for our school district and our community is that we had five exceptional contractors that want to build this school,” Hicks said. “That speaks highly of the planning process that we’ve engaged in and the quality of our architectural design. I know that any one of them would have done a great job.”

The second step involved the consideration of pricing. The selection process is not simply fee based, but weighted heavily on other important issues critical to the success of the project. Other issues considered include past relationships, performance as a team player, experience, construction of similar education projects and ability to perform work in a timely manner.

Assistant Superintendent Tyson Bennett explained the selection committee uses the criteria that was approved by the board in December to assess each respondent.

“Construction companies will send you proposals that are specifically addressed to the selection criteria,” Bennett said. “Then there is the interview process where you bring those Construction Managers At Risk in and they bring in their team because you want to see the team that’s going to be working with the projects. They give a presentation. The committee then reviews and discusses, grades and ranks them.”

Following this process, Cadence McShane was selected as the top ranked firm.

Steve Levy, vice president of operations for Cadence McShane, explained the firm has already begun planning for what would happen if it won the project.

“This is a big project,” McShane said. “It’s not just a big project for you, it’s a big project for me. It’s an important project. We take your money and what you have presented to your community very seriously. We find the best way to mitigate risk is to be proactive.”

Local voters approved a $176 million bond package on Nov. 7 that included district-wide technology upgrades, a new Sherman High School on a new site and upgrades to the HVAC and energy management system at the current Sherman High School.

The board previously approved CMAR as the procurement method for construction services for this project citing pre-construction services and guaranteed maximum price as the reason for choosing this method.

A guaranteed maximum price provides a ceiling that caps the amount the district is required to pay. That means should the price exceed the agreed upon maximum, the construction manager would be liable for the excess amount instead of the district.

Sherman ISD selected VLK Architects from around eleven proposals back in August 2016 for the design work. VLK will work with the construction manager at risk that is selected.

Hicks said the top ranked firm displayed a number of qualities that made them stand out.

“Cadence McShane brings a wealth of experience,” Hicks said. “Their leadership team has the integrity and the construction ability to do an outstanding job.”