HERMISTON - Three Northwest firms will be interviewed to oversee the construction of three Hermiston schools, after the school district's contractor selection committee narrowed the search to three finalists Wednesday.

Of the 13 proposals submitted, the three remaining under consideration consideration are Lydig Construction, Inc. (Spokane, Wash.), P & C Construction (Gresham), and Chervenell Construction (Kennewick, Wash.).

The district is seeking candidates to build three replacement schools as part of a $69.9 million bond measure voters approved last November. The money will fund replacements for Armand Larive Middle School, Sunset Elementary School and West Park Elementary School.

The search has been carried out under a construction manager/general contractor model, or CM/GC, which allows the district to consider more than simply lowest price before awarding a bid. Candidates were scored on several other experience-related criteria during the search, according to the district.

Bond Project Manager Dave Fishel said the alternate search method often yields better results.

"One of the great advantages of the CM/GC selection process is the interview component," he said in a released statement. "This will provide the committee the opportunity to ask questions and get to know the character of each of the three finalist companies to determine which one or two best fit the needs of the district and the community."

The hiring will happen one of two ways: Either all three building projects will go to one firm, or one will build the new middle school and another will build the two elementary schools slated for replacement.

The selection committee will make its recommendation to the Hermiston School Board, which has the say. A decision is expected at the April 7 board meeting.

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