CHIPPEWA FALLS — Four contractors have submitted bids for the $65 million referendum project that Chippewa Falls area voters approved last year.

The bidding process allowed contractors to submit a bid for one or more of the projects, as well as a comprehensive bid for the entire project, a district press release states.

Howard Immell Construction and RJ Jurowski Construction both submitted bids to build the new Stillson Elementary School, estimated at about $22 million. Market & Johnson and Miron Construction each submitted bids for the entire project, but also bids for three separate projects. The bids were opened Tuesday.

“The goal of this approach was to create opportunities for contractors of all sizes to be competitive,” said district Superintendent Heidi Taylor-Eliopoulos. “A smaller contractor might not be able to take on the full three-site project, but might be able to provide the qualified bid for a single project.”

District administration and the school board will now review those bids, and the board will vote on which bids to accept at its March 26 meeting.

“The bids were within budget, but we still use due diligence to go through them and vet their contracts,” explained business manager Chad Trowbridge.

Stillson Elementary will be rebuilt on a 36-acre site in the town of Lafayette, roughly one mile from the current school. The present timeline calls for construction of the new elementary school to begin this spring, and would be complete in time for school to begin in September 2020.

The rest of the money is for construction and equipping of a classroom addition, capital improvements and repairs, technology upgrades, remodeling and site improvements at the Middle School, and construction and equipping of a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) lab addition, capital improvements and repairs and technology upgrades at the high school.

About 53 percent of voters supported the referendum in the April 2018 election.

Stillson Elementary is the oldest school in the district, with the oldest wing constructed in the 1930s. It has an aging septic system and plumbing problems; there have been reports of the kitchen losing water pressure when toilets are flushed. The building went through renovations in 1957, 1963, 1985, 1990 and 1994, and is considered at the end of its useful life.

However, the building, parking lot and playground is on just a six-acre site, which is considered too small of a footprint for a modern elementary. Taylor-Eliopoulos said it should be on at least 14 acres, which is why the district decided to relocate the school. The 36-acre site also will allow for more athletic fields outside the school.