Walla Walla High School

The $72 million project that will build a 10 classrooom-and-lab combination science addition at Walla Walla High School will be headed by Jackson Contractor Group.

The company was awarded the job following Monday’s public bid opening, said Walla Walla School District Superintendent Wade Smith.

The agreement is pending final contract negotiations and school board approval.  Smith said Jackson was rated the most qualified candidate out of four firms that submitted proposals in a three-phase process.

Officials said the Montana-based company, which opened its Walla Walla office in 2016 and has locations in Missoula, Bozeman and Miles City, bid the lowest cost to deliver on the flagship Wa-Hi project, including the new science wing.

The plan is to use what’s called the “general contractor-construction manager” model, Smith said.

That allows the contractor to be involved early in the design phase, capitalizing on Jackson’s ability to participate and partner through the pre-construction and design programming, he said.

Groundbreaking for the 10 classroom-and-lab combinations science addition is slated for this fall, with completion of Wa-Hi work expected by the start of the 2022 school year, Smith said.

The Wa-Hi work is part of the $65.6 million bond voters approved in November, and that is expected to be matched by $52.6 million in Washington state funding as work begins rolling out.

Jackson’s Walla Walla location is headed by division manager Matt Brossman, who said today his company is “very excited” to have been chosen.

He has three sons in Walla Walla schools, and one will be a Wa-Hi freshman next fall, Brossman said.

“We’re avid Blue Devil fans and supporters,” he said.

Several Jackson family members also have children in school here, he noted.

“This is obviously more than just a job for us. It’s important for us to put forward a good showing. We’re taxpayers, we’re part of this as well,” he said.

Brossman said about eight of his

core staff will be on the Wa-Hi project full time.

The company also uses its own “craft” workers, such as carpenters and iron workers, and 40-50 such employees will be brought in for the heavy construction

season of the renovation and build, he said.

“We can expect to have 100 to 200 on the entire project. We’ll be using as many local subcontractors as we can,” Brossman said.

Jackson is currently building elsewhere around town, including an addition at the Walla Walla YMCA, the Walla Walla Clinic’s new Women’s Clinic and an education and support building at the Washington State Penitentiary.

Brossman said his office will “take a shot” at the other WWPS bond projects as those come up for bid.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322.

Sheila Hagar has written for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin since 1998. Sheila covers education in the Walla Walla Valley. She also writes a column, Home Place, usually highlighting family life and slices of local life.