By Aila Boyd

The Botetourt County Economic Development Authority received bids for construction on the new Colonial Elementary School last week.

Two contractors, G&H Contracting and Thor Construction, submitted bids. Originally, the county expected to receive five bids.

Jim Whitten, the capital projects manager for Botetourt County, said that this is a “real active time” for construction and that the three other contractors likely had other commitments. In order to submit a bid, the contractors had to go through a pre-screening process in order to verify that they would be able to complete the project if awarded the contract.

Thor Construction’s bid was the highest, coming in at $34,660,000— $21,260,000 for the construction of the actual school and $2,400,000 for the final grading. The final grading will include the grading for the parking lots and yards.

Thor Construction is based in Roanoke. It previously completed a roof replacement and architectural and mechanical renovation on Eagle Rock Elementary School. It has also completed construction projects at Radford University, Roanoke College, Hollins University, Washington and Lee University, and Dabney S. Lancaster Community College.

G&H Contracting’s bid came in at $22,345,400— $19,399,000 for the construction of the actual school and $2,946,400 for the final grading.

G&H Contracting is family owned Salem-based business. Construction projects that the company previously completed in Botetourt County include: Troutville Baptist Church, Fincastle Baptist Church, and the Botetourt Sports Complex.

The difference between the two bids is $1,314,600.

Whitten also reported that April was a very productive month for grading at the site. Out of the 22 working days in April, the grading contractor, F. Clayton Plecker & Sons, was able to complete 21 days’ worth of grading. As of last Friday, grading had been completed on every working day thus far in the month of May.

The recent bout of progress that is being made with the grading is a stark contrast to February, when only one day’s worth of grading was able to be completed due wet weather.

On the days that grading is able to be done, F. Clayton Plecker & Sons operates 12 pieces of equipment.

Whitten explained that the site looks different than it did a month ago and that “a lot of dirt” has been moved. Also, the inspector who examines the compaction of the dirt reported that the compaction rate is nearly 100 percent. Whitten described it as being as firm as concrete.

If things continue to progress as planned, the contractor reported that it will be completely finished with grading by the first of June.

In total, the grading process will bring the pad that the school will sit on up 22 feet.

The new Colonial Elementary School, which is located on Murray Drive in Troutville, is set to open in the fall of next year.