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'School' Gets $7 Million Deal for F-35 Work

A one-time day care and children's school in Utah has received a nearly $7 million contract from the Defense Department for construction work related to the F-35 fighter jet.

You read that right.

The company, known as Creative Times Day School Inc., in Ogden, Utah, started out as a day care in the late 1980s and later expanded into commercial and federal construction doing business as Creative Times Inc.

The firm beat out three other unnamed companies for a $6.8 million, fixed-price contract to build an addition to an F-35 hangar at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, according to a Dec. 20 announcement from the Pentagon. The work, which is being overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers in Los Angeles, is expected to wrap up in April 2015, according to the notification.

Donald Salazar, a former parole officer, founded the business after struggling to place a minority family into a public-assistance facility, according to a recent article in Hispanic Executive, a trade magazine. The project was successful and he expanded with more, though his plans to add day-care facilities in federal buildings ended after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, according to the report.

With an expertise in building and government contracting, Salazar turned to federal construction projects. His company has completed more than 1,000 projects for such clients as the Army, Air Force and General Services Administration, according to the magazine article.

The deal was among 300 awards the Defense Department disclosed in December -- transactions potentially worth a combined $26 billion, according to a Military​.com analysis of the Pentagon's daily contract announcements.

The monthly value is about 14 percent less than November's, but 8 percent more than the average for the previous three months. The figures don’t reflect what is actually spent, or obligated, because many deals are only partially funded at first.

The biggest contract -- a potentially $4 billion deal with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency for countering weapons of mass destruction -- went to a group of seven companies, including defense giants Northrop Grumman Corp. and Raytheon Co., according to the Dec. 3 notice.

The second-largest award -- and the only other one valued at more than a billion dollars -- went to a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. The company received a possible $1.4 billion contract with the Defense Logistics Agency for aviation fuel, according to the Dec. 11 announcement.

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