The bids are in, and the news is good all around.

During Monday’s meeting, the Mankato Area School Board will approve construction bids for several smaller projects attached to the $33 million bond referendum passed in April 2008.

The bids received were for the elevator installation project at Mankato East and the science room remodeling at Mankato West. The winning bid for both projects was substantially lower than the amount budgeted in the referendum proposal.

But, perhaps more importantly, the winning bidder on both projects was WEB Construction. A longtime Mankato company, WEB was among a pool of about 10 contractors competing for the jobs.

“I don’t know if I was necessarily surprised to see that many bidders,” said Josh Williams, of WEB Construction. “A lot of people are looking for work this time of year.”

When district officials drafted the bond referendum proposal last year, they were hoping an early-season bid process would generate competition and lower costs. But the news was even better than expected.

For the elevator project at East, WEB’s winning bid totaled $186,960. That figure was significantly lower than rival bids and was well under the district’s $300,000 budget for the project. For the science room remodeling at West, WEB’s bid was $709,140. The district’s project budget was $923,000.

Greg Milbrath, director of buildings and grounds for Mankato schools, said the savings offer a little peace of mind.

“We could use that money elsewhere,” he said, “or hang onto it in case anything goes wrong during a job.”

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