The Gwinnett County Board of Education awarded Bowen & Watson with a $17 million dollar contract for an addition to Grayson High School that will increase the school’s capacity by about 875 students.

Bids were submitted to the school system on Oct. 8. Bowen & Watson’s bid was $797,000 lower than the next-lowest bid. The bidding process began in September with five contractors contacted by the school district to submit bids. Four of the five contractors submitted bids for the project.

The location for the addition is behind the school, between the school building and football field. Divisions and Facilities Chief Operations Officer Walt Martin said the addition will contain about 44 instructional units and 125,000 square feet. The new addition, projected to be ready by the start of the 2021 school year, will provide classrooms for students and faculty displaced in trailers.

“It’s really just because increased enrollment,” he said. “It’s exploding out there.”

Bowen & Watson is a Toccoa-based commercial construction company. It has successfully completed projects for Gwinnett County Public Schools in the past. Bowen & Watson is contracted for still on-going renovations and additions at Brookwood and Parkview high schools.

“They’ve been with us a long time — a tried and true contractor,” Martin said.

The Grayson construction project was included in Gwinnett County Public Schools’ 2017 Building Program funded by SPLOST V. Martin said funding for projects and the money budgeted is projected several years out, but GCPS still works to stay within budget even as construction costs steadily rise year-after-year.

“We have to really adjust as we go through here to make sure we don’t go over budget, because it’s not something we want to do,” Martin said.

The Grayson High School addition and renovation is the last of three renovation projects that Gwinnett County Public Schools projects to be finished by the 2021 school year. Projects that will increase capacities at Berkmar High School and Benefield Elementary School are currently underway. Those renovations are two of seven major addition or renovation projects that are currently under construction within the school system.

The school district’s construction report lists one new elementary school with a capacity of 1,500 students in the Meadowcreek cluster that does not have a projected completion date. Additions and renovations to Meadowcreek Elementary School and Ferguson Elementary School are also awaiting bid submissions and do not have a projected completion date.

A new building project for GIVE Center South is on hold.

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