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APS Changing Roofing Specs; Officials Hope To Save District Money

By Russell Contreras
Journal Staff Writer
    Albuquerque Public Schools is changing its roofing specifications to align with state standards, district officials announced Thursday.
    That, officials argue, will invite more competitive bids from roofing contractors and save the district money.
    "We are looking to bring in more contractors to bid," said Brad Winter, director of the APS Capital Master Plan and acting director of facilities operations.
    However, no new specifications have been approved yet, APS spokesman Rigo Chavez said.
    The announcement comes after a critical report by a citizen oversight committee that said APS overpaid contractors on building projects approved by voters in the 2003 bond and tax levy election.
    In 2003, another citizens task force said the district's roofing program was failing to ensure fair and competitive bids because only one company— Garland Company Inc. of Ohio— met the specifications.
    That task force also found that APS wasn't getting its money's worth from the company on the 30-year roof warranties required by the specifications.
    Winter said those days will soon be over.
    He said that, in addition to changing specifications, APS hopes to see roofing contracts with 20- to 25-year warranties.
    The district has eight roofing projects "ready to go," including planned work at Carlos Rey Elementary, he said.
    Superintendent Elizabeth Everitt said the roofing changes are among a number of reforms to make the district more efficient.
    "I hope the atmosphere in APS is changing," Everitt said. "The processes we use we want to get better."
    Winter said that, in addition to changing roofing contracts, he is streamlining the district's facilities departments to make them more efficient.
    He said it's taking too long for projects to go from design to construction.
    "That needs to change," Winter said. "And I will stake my reputation on it."
    Winter said he hopes the recent report doesn't dissuade voters from approving the district's coming $218.6 million tax levy question to repair aging schools and to build three new ones.
    "The (tax) levy is important to the community and the economy of the city," Winter said. "If it fails, everybody will be hurting."
    The election is Feb. 1.