The La Grande School District is a big step closer to getting $3.25 million in seismic upgrade work started next spring.

The school board voted Wednesday to put Griffin Construction, of Prineville, under contract to serve as the construction manager/general contractor for the seismic upgrades planned at La Grande High School and Greenwood Elementary School.

Griffin is one of three firms that submitted proposals for the project. Griffin received the highest score in an evaluation in which eight factors were scored by a school district committee, including firm and personnel experience, references and understanding the needs of the project.

Work Griffin Construction has done includes seismic upgrade projects in the past year in the Imbler and Baker school districts.

“(Griffin) has a good reputation for the work it has done in this area,” said Merle Comfort, a member of the La Grande School Board.

Joseph Waite, La Grande School District’s bond and facilities manager, said the work should start late next spring and most of it will likely be finished before the start of the 2018-19 school year.

La Grande School District Superintendent George Mendoza said he is glad Griffin Construction was selected early because this will make it easier to line up subcontractors for work next summer. School districts that get a late start on projects often have a harder time finding contractors for summer work.

The work Griffin Construction will do will be funded by two $1.5 million grants for seismic upgrades the school district received from the state, plus $250,000 from the school district.

The seismic upgrade work at Greenwood will cost $1.5 million, and the expense of the seismic upgrade work at LHS will be $1.75 million. The $250,000 from the district will come from the capital projects fund.

See more in Friday's edition of The Observer.