NORTH ADAMS -- The opening of general contracting bids on the renovation of the former Silvio O. Conte Middle School has been delayed a week.

The general contractor's bids were set to be unveiled Monday, but have been pushed back to March 17 due to a protest on the subcontracting bids that were opened last month, according to Mayor Richard Alcombright.

The grievance will be heard by the state Attorney General's office and should be decided on soon, according to Alcombright. The city has informed the general contracting bidders about the situation, Alcombright said.

City officials and the School Building Committee are closely watching the general contractor bids after the total of lowest subcontracting bids came in nearly $1 million over estimates. The city expected painting, electrical, and other subcontractor work to total $12.1 million, but bids came in closer to $13 million, a differential of about 8 percent.

Depending on how accurate the general contractor estimates are, Alcombright has said, the $31 million project may have to be scaled down or re-bid altogether. If the project is re-bid, it could delay the opening of the school as an elementary school, currently slated for fall of 2015.

Alcombright did not immediately have details on the bid protest when reached Monday, describing it as "technical."

Project Manager Ken Guyette did not return a request for comment.