‘SPRINGFIELD >> In a special and critical meeting, the school board awarded about $70.8 million in contracts for Phase I of the master plan. The work is specific to the new high school and stadium portions at the Saxer Avenue/South Rolling Road corner of the 24-acre campus.
Contracts were awarded for prime work. The discipline, contractor and amount for base bid and selected alternatives (rounded) were: General Construction, E. R. Stuebner, $53.3 million; Mechanical Construction, Boro Construction, $8.4 million; Electrical, Boro Construction, $6.5 million; and Plumbing, Stan-Roch Plumbing, $2.5 million. The full spreadsheet of bidders is on the district’s website in the Master Plan section.
Director Kevin Keenan, chairman of the Facilities Committee, and district Executive Director Don Mooney led the discussion for the board. All nine members were present and there was no public attendance.
“We have had two special facilities committee meetings for the review of the bids. Choosing the low bid of the qualified bidders, we’ve come in slightly under budget,” said Keenan. “This is phase one of four, and we don’t have a shovel in the ground yet, but we are starting out on the right foot.”
In preparing the scope of work, the bid specifications included the base bid of all essentials as well as 20 “alternates.” These modifications allowed the district to “pick and choose” construction details. Keenan used the example of copper wiring versus aluminum. Of those 20, 11 were selected at the start.
The $70.8 million figure is well within the projected $77 million in overall school construction plans sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The district is held accountable for that benchmark which is only one a series of filings to and oversight by the state.
The vote on awards was 8-1. Director Margaret Rovinski first said she chose to abstain from the vote.
“I’d rather see the alternates added later. I think we owe it to taxpayers,” Rovinski said of her more conservative approach.
However, Lisanne Mikula, the district solicitor, explained abstention was not the appropriate vote as it is reserved for such matters as personal or professional conflicts. Rovinski changed her vote, saying she “felt bad having to vote no.”
Phase I is slightly more than half the project’s total budget, prompting a question about the other half. The other three phases will address the existing school and environs, as well as professional fees. Mooney said demolition and associated work on material removal is budgeted around $10 million. Other major costs come from site work of fields, roadways and parking. A significant part of the budget includes everything inside excluding the building itself, property owners were to make a comparison to their homes.
In connection to the awards, the board also approved the CID Group for construction management and consulting services. The proposal is for approximately 45 months of the projects for a fee not to exceed $3.2 million. CID Group has been onsite management for projects dating back to 2004, including the entire construction of the Springfield Literacy Center.
With these awards, the start of the project, estimated at just over three years, is expected to begin in the next several weeks. The first indication is replacement of the iron railing with green fencing, common around construction sites.
Superintendent Tony Barber said he hopes residents, as well as those passing through the area, will have the patience needed for such a project of this size and importance. Adding to thanks from board President Jennifer Lofland to the Facilities Committee regarding literally years of work on the master plan, Barber said, “We are managing everything not just for the specificity of the building, but for the entire town.”’
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