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Confusion over a builders’ bid could delay construction of a new Southwestern College Higher Education Center in San Ysidro, expected to cost more than $4 million.

Trustees from the Southwestern Community College District deferred accepting bids for the center Wednesday night, after two companies sparred over the lowest bid. Jaynes Corporation protested a bid submitted by HAR Construction, saying it was unclear. The bid reads “four million four seven hundred twenty-four,” and also lists “$404,724.”

HAR president Hector Romero pleaded with the board to accept his bid. If interpreted as $4,004,724, HAR’s bid is lower than the $4,138,000 bid submitted by Jaynes.

Tabling the bids worried one board member, who cited possible cost increases as the project is delayed.

“I’m concerned about not being able to move forward with a major project,” said Yolanda Salcido. The center is planned to open in spring 2009. “Where do we go from here? … Every day that goes by is ticking.”

Board members set a special meeting to reconsider the bids next week.

EMILY ALPERT

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