By Tom Tolen /

Construction is expected to begin in the near future on an indoor practice facility for the Brighton Area Schools that encompasses a substantial chunk of the $59.4 million bond issue passed by voters in 2019. The Board of Education approved the contract with the Brivar Construction Co. of Brighton, the winning bidder, at its meeting Monday night.

With Board President Roger Myers abstaining because of a possible conflict of interest, the board on a 6-0-1 vote approved awarding the general contract to Brivar for an amount “not to exceed” $6,491,511. The award was based on the recommendation of Clark Construction Co., the district’s construction manager on the bond issue, which reviewed five competitive bids. Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Michael Engelter, who made the presentation, told the board he is looking at additional savings well into the six-figure range.

Engelter told the board the district is looking into such possible cost reductions as using a foam-filled block wall for a $220,000 savings. Another is to seek approval of the project as sales tax-exempt, which would save $250,000 — both cost containment initiatives having been proposed by the contractor.

Construction will start as soon as possible, according to Board Trustee Bill Trombley, who serves on the bond committee. Although it was earlier hoped that the facility could be finished by the end of this year, Trombley says that will not be possible, and even using the building by the second semester is not feasible. The reason, Trombley says, is that deliveries of certain materials are way behind schedule, particularly steel, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. More realistic, he says, is that the building will be ready to use by late spring or early summer.

The approximately 240-by-400-foot facility is to be constructed on the Southeast side of the Maltby Intermediate School property at Bauer and Brighton roads. The plan is for the facility to be utilized not just by the high school but by all district schools, and on occasion — based on availability — by the community at large.

Pictured: architectural renderings of the indoor practice facility project, courtesy of Tim Melvin of Gillett Associates Inc. of Farmington Hills, the architectural firm on the project.