A Fast Start Is Anticipated

Bidding on the Bridgehampton School District’s $29.4-million renovation and expansion project closes Tuesday at 11 a.m., and the school board intends to begin reviewing the bids immediately, hoping to be able to award a contract before the end of the month.

District Superintendent Robert Hauser told the board at its monthly meeting Sept. 26 that the district’s architect, John A. Grillo, and its construction manager, School Construction Consultants, hoped to present their recommendations within seven days of the close, barring complications.

The district was forced to go back to voters last month to ask for an additional $4.74 million after two earlier rounds of contractors’ bids came back 25 percent higher than expected. Mr. Hauser and Mr. Grillo said the year-long wait for a building permit from the state, and late timing of the bidding window, contributed to the spike in costs.

Voters agreed to the increase by 132-98. It will be combined with the $24.7 million approved in December 2016.

“I’ve been in touch with the architect and the construction manager, and there’s reason to believe the bids should come in at the same price this time — if not lower — because we’re not changing the size or scope of the project,” Mr. Hauser said. “As always, we’ll believe that when we see it.”

Once the contractors are chosen and approved, construction could start as soon as mid-November and be completed before the start of the 2020-21 school year, he said.

Douglas DeGroot, a board member, and Ron White, board president, expressed hope following Mr. Hauser’s remarks that the school’s overhaul would not stop at the renovations. Both men have children at the Bridgehampton School, and said they support expanding its curriculum and hiring more teachers to give students more academic choices, especially during their junior and senior years.

The current student population, from kindergarten through Grade 12, is 229.

Jill Saunders of Cullen & Danowski, the district’s accounting firm, also gave a report. She commended the board for operating well within budget the previous fiscal year, and said it did a good job of funding its reserves in addition to paying off the $1.275-million bond for the new geo-thermal heating system that will be installed during the renovations.

Melissa Stiles, the business administrator, reported that the tax assessment districtwide is up for the third straight year, by about $500 million. The current total assessment is about $8.1 billion, Ms. Stiles said.