New Boston School Superintendent Mike Staggs said that contractor bids for new school construction were opened at 2 p.m. Wednesday, and the district was very pleased to discover they were millions below what they were told to expect. Staggs said three general contractor bids were received, and the lowest was Sutherland the general contractor who built South Webster schools. Mechanical Construction was the lowest bidder for HVAC and plumbing packages, Central Fire Protection was the lowest bidder for the fire protection package, and Accurate Electric was the lowest bidder for the electric and technology package. Early cost estimates from project construction manager Hill International were as high as $2.2 million over the schools construction budget. When the bids were opened Wednesday, Staggs said he was very pleased to find they were $153,000 under budget. He had no idea why the original estimate was so high. Everything will have to be reviewed, and then the construction manager will come back with a recommendation for the school board, Staggs said. Some of the bids could be not accepted, I suppose, but all of these are experienced companies so I dont foresee that. Staggs and the construction manager will interview qualifying bidders, and they will discuss their options during a meeting of the project core team on March 28. Their recommendations will be presented for the New Boston School Board to award bid contracts March 30, and a Notice to Proceed from the Ohio School Facilities Commission should be granted the next day. After the delays that weve had, I think everybody in New Boston is eagerly anticipating the start of construction, he said. Staggs said the district will have a public ground breaking ceremony April 19 at the site on Lakeview Avenue. The school is expected to be complete in August 2012, in time for students to return for the start of the 2012-13 school year.