RFP goes out to find firm to design and build power project

The West Side Recreation and Park District is going solar.
The District already has one small array on top of Aera Gym, but it is now sending out request for proposals for a much more extensive project to power a significant portion of the District's power needs.
Just how big the project will be is going to be determined by the responses to the RFP and the District's budget.

The goals is for the District to be able to select the firm that give it the best value to design and build a solar power generating system at two potential sites ― the Community Center on Cascade Place and the Franklin Field Sports Complex on East Cedar Street.

"What we are looking for is what's best for the community. What we are looking for is the most responsive proposal that's best for the District," District Administrator Les Clark III said.

Finances will be playing a role in the selection.
"Cost is paramount," Clark said.

Clark said a decision was made to seek an RFP for greater transparency with the taxpayer's money and so the District can select the company it is most comfortable with to design and build the solar project.
Clark worked with District legal counsel John Gibson and consultant Steve Perez, a former Kern County Supervisor to draw up the RFP.

It will include more rooftop solar arrays, and the District is planning to reroof the cCommunity Center Auditorium and add solar as part of the project.

It could also could large solar panels place in the parking lot of the Franklin Field complex as well.

It contains explicit language to protect the District against change orders that lead to cost overruns.

"We are not going to be responsive to change orders in response to elements that could have been foreseen or predicted," Clark said. "What they say they are going (charge) we are going to hold them to that."

The District is also going to seek a firm that has a track record, and require that the firms responding to the RFP have successfully completed three similar sized projects in the past five years

While an RFP is different that going out to bid, it will be pitting firms against each other to offer the District the best deal.

The solar market is very competitive, " Gibson told the Board, and that should work to the District's advantage.

"Most of the people we talked to have said 'Go out to bid to get companies bidding against each other- you'll get a better price,' " Gibson said

The Board unanimously approved the RFP.
Clark said the District plans to have RFPs completed by the Board next meeting in September.
Walk-though on Sept. 5

Clark, Gibson and Perez will review the responses received by the Sept. 19 deadline then present them to the District facilities committee and Board in late September.