Renovating school will cost $21.4 million
A project to renovate Slatington Elementary will cost Northern Lehigh School District $21.4 million.
The school board, on a 7-0 vote during a special meeting on Monday, agreed to award contracts for the renovation project, pending review and approval of bonds and insurances by the district solicitor. Directors Lori Geronikos and Gary Fedorcha were absent.
Skepton Construction, of Pennsburg, Montgomery County, was awarded the general construction contract at a base bid of $8,845,000. With credits and deductions for alternates, the total bid amount is $9,653,100.
Albarell Electric, of Bethlehem, was awarded the electrical contract at a base bid of $2,886,242. With credits and deductions for alternates, the total bid amount is $3,009,917.
For mechanical construction, JBM Mechanical, of Nazareth, was awarded the contract at a base bid of $3,927,000. With credits and deductions for alternates, the total bid amount is $3,959,001.
Slatts Mechanical Inc., of East Greenville, Montgomery County, was awarded the plumbing contract at a base bid of $1,349,000. With credits and deductions for alternates, the total bid amount is $1,364,000.
Sargent Enterprises, of Jim Thorpe, was awarded a contract for asbestos removal at a base bid of $44,424.
In a related matter, the board voted to enter into an agreement with H.T. Lyons Company, of Allentown, to perform the HVAC testing, adjusting and balancing services during the additions and renovations to the school. They will perform work on a time and expense basis for a not-to-exceed cost of $36,700, with a contingency amount of $13,500 in the event any duct cleanliness testing or any additional TAB/Commissioning work is requested during the construction phase.
In another related matter, the board voted to enter into an agreement with Advantage Engineers, of Lansdale, Montgomery County, to perform the construction testing services during the additions and renovations to the school. They will perform work on a time and expense basis for a not-to-exceed cost of $52,235, with a contingency amount of $2,364 in the event any further testing may be needed during the construction phase.
Director Donna Kulp said she was pleased with how the bids turned out.
"I think the district is doing this at the right time," Kulp said. "I'm very pleased with this."
However, business manager Jeremy Melber said the district must come up with an additional $400,000 to afford the project.
"We were looking at the bids coming in at $20.4 million, so we're very, very close," Melber said. "The new roof added to the project, but it wouldn't have been a smart move for the district if we wouldn't have replaced the entire roof."
Melber noted that while the district needs to borrow $10.4 million next year, it can only borrow $10 million through a bank qualified loan.
"This is not going to have an impact on the taxpayers on the district," he said. "We've put together four options that will deter it falling back on the taxpayers."
Last month, the school board agreed to approve a bond resolution to authorize the issuance of general obligations debt series of 2010 for $11 million to help afford the project.
Also at that time, the board approved the submission of PlanCon F to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the additions and alterations to Slatington Elementary.
In January, the board agreed to adopt the Act 34 resolution, which calls for a total project cost of $20,432,466.
The board approved the resolution after it heard a presentation from financial consultant Les Baer. Baer said the resolution was part of a parameters resolution the district has had in place since 2004.
Baer said that as of Sept. 1, 2015, the board will have the opportunity to refund the issue.
The bond will be taken out of the 2010-11 budget, whereby the district will use .95 mills of its tax base to this year's budget, .7 mills to next year's, and a one-third mill the following year.
It is estimated the state will reimburse the district $5,095,000 for the project. Construction is expected to last about 20 months.
As per the plan, the school will maintain its grade 3-6 configuration, and also add six classrooms to address space concerns.
Also, the plan will reconfigure open concept classrooms into individual classrooms, and construct an addition to house the third grade.
In addition, the gymnasium will remain in its current location; a movable partition will be added for program flexibility; the existing locker area will be modified to increase gym seating capacity; and secure community access will be provided.
The plan will also allow for the elementary offices to be relocated to the first floor entrance; a new two-story complex to be built at the front of the building to house the district's administration offices; former modular offices to be removed; and direct public access to be provided to district administration offices without requiring access to the school.
The district believes the plan will maintain the desired grade configuration; the location of the elementary offices to the front entrance will be improved; the removal of district administration offices from the school will improve security for both by avoiding the mixing of the public and students; and will combine the district administration offices into one facility to improve operating efficiencies.
Based upon enrollment projections that predict steady enrollment to slightly declining enrollment over the next 10 years, the project isn't required to increase overall district capacity.
The enrollment projections were evaluated through PDE data, as well as Pennsylvania Economy League data.
Also, the consolidation of the district administration offices from temporary modular construction could allow PDE reimbursement in the amount of 25 to 33 percent on a yearly basis over the course of the next 15 years.
Constructed in 1971, the school is the only one of four buildings in the district never to have undergone any renovation work.
In other business, the board:
• Authorized administration to purchase high school auditorium seating from Essjay Company/Irwin Seating at a cost of $59,979, as per state contract price, to be paid from the Long Range Maintenance Plan Budget.
• Approved Plancon Part "F" attachment "C".
• Approved Plancon Part "G".