The Quaker Valley School Board approved $21.3 million in contracts Wednesday night for the middle school renovation project.
Although the overall costs are expected to top $26 million, more than the district’s estimated $23 million threshold, Superintendent Joseph Clapper said he was thrilled with the numbers.
Board members voted to all the middle school construction bids in April after costs came in $4.3 million more than the most recent bids.
“To reduce a project of this magnitude by $4.3 million is tremendous,” Clapper said.
Of the seven construction contracts, the largest was awarded to general contractor RA Glancy & Sons of Gibsonia at $12.469 million.
The board voted, 8-1, to approve the lowest responsible bids, with School Director Danielle Burnette voting against the measure. Board members Kay Wijekumar and Robert Riker joined the vote over the telephone.
Burnette said she would have preferred to review the bid alternates prior to taking the vote to attempt a scale-back on some of the $3 million in runover costs.
“Where are we coming up with the $3 million?” she asked.
Other board members who differed in opinion said the cost was minor compared to what it could cost walking away, and that scaling back even more could defeat the entire purpose of the renovations: to provide additional classroom space and 21st century upgrades for students now and several generations to come.
“My sentiment is that this project needs to be completed," Director Gianni Floro said.
School Director Mark Rodgers said the board is already in about $3 million, costs that are gone and won't be recovered if the project is stopped.
The project includes a full-scope of gymnasium renovations but cuts aspects such as terrazzo floors, a library media center and a retaining wall on Route 65. Athletic field turf also was scrapped, but school officials are looking at combining the job in a separate project with needed high school field updates, a move officials said could potentially lower the overall cost for the two field projects.
School Director David Pusateri, chairman of the facilities committee, said when he joined the board in December 2007, they were contemplating constructing a new building on property in Bell Acres. He said the board decided against that when a study showed construction costs would be exorbitant.
Officials knew the middle school was in desperate need of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, but when they realized it would require tearing the building apart to put in the system, the board essentially decided the next best step was to do all the needed upgrades and renovations at once, estimating that $23 million would cover the costs, said Pusateri.
At one time, the project included a wellness center and a second-story addition over the cafeteria. The project has since been largely scaled back.
Board President Jack Norris said the construction team was able to reduce the project cost significantly.
One of the questions board members have to answer is how to fund the $3 million gap. Officials discussed several ways to offset costs, such as borrowing from the district’s surplus, the capital fund, taking out an additional bond or a combination of the options.
No decision was made. The board plans to have another special meeting July 20 at the district’s administrative offices in the Leetsdale Industrial Park to discuss the matter.
At that time, the board plans to also vote on approving a technology and communications contract, which was not approved Wednesday night and is set to be rebid.
Clapper said there was a problem with the bid specifications, and the board wanted to readvertise the technology aspect to be fair to all bidders.
Jeff Foreman, architect with New Castle-based Eckles Architecture and Engineering, said the general contractor is aware every effort must be made to get students back into the middle school by fall.
Construction is to begin July 26, about seven to eight weeks later than originally expected.
“The dirt will fly this month,” Clapper said.
The following bids were awarded:
• R.A. Glancy & Sons ‐ General Contracting ‐ $12,469,710
• East West Manufacturing & Supply - HVAC - $3,857,000
• Guy’s Mechanical - Plumbing - $1,639,875
• A‐1 Electric - Electrical - $2,126,100
• Commercial Appliance - Cafeteria/Kitchen Equipment - $535,652
• Northeast Interior Systems - Casework - $583,000
• Jupina Landscaping - Landscaping - $78,985
For constant updates on the progress of the project, visit the district's renovation blog.
CORRECTION: This article previously stated $26 million in contracts were awarded. Only $21.3 million in contracts were awarded, but the overall project is expected to cost a little more than $26 million. Patch regrets the error.