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The Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees selected four engineering firms to cover about $15.3 million worth of 2010 school bond initiative projects at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The engineering firms were rated based on their experience with education projects, past qualifications, proximity to the district, past working relationship with the district, references, statement of unique qualifications and history of meeting tight work deadlines.

The board selected Halff & Associates, a state-wide engineering firm with a Rio Grande Valley office in McAllen, and ACR Engineering, a state-wide engineering firm with a Harlingen office, for the Mechanical-Electrical-Plumbing (MEP) projects associated with the bond initiative. MEP projects are expected to cost about $13.1 million. The board approved The Alex Group as the MEP alternate engineering firm.

The board selected two Harlingen-based companies, Brown, Leal & Associates and Guzman & Munoz Engineering, for the Civil Engineering projects associated with the 2010 bond initiative. School officials estimate those parking and drainage projects will cost about $2.2 million. The board selected Halff & Associates as the alternate engineering firm.

District Operations and the Facilities Committee will determine which specific projects each engineering firm is assigned at a later date. If the selected firms are not able to reach an agreement with school officials regarding those projects, officials will try to negotiate with the alternate firm.

The board also granted permission for the Superintendent to begin negotiating the purchase of land for future facility projects.

The Texas Education Agency approved Harlingen CISD’s application for Instructional Facilities Allotment concerning the 2010 bond initiative on August 5. Harlingen CISD will receive about half of the $98.6 million bond funds through the IFA. The other half of the bond initiative will be paid by a property tax increase of 9.7 cents per $100 in valuation.

The district has contracted with a financial advisor and bond underwriters, said school officials, who expect the sale of bonds to begin later this month. Projects are expected to start when school starts later this month.

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