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Renovation change orders could cost Mt. Lebanon School District $200K

| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

The Mt. Lebanon School Board will decide next week whether to accept nearly $200,000 in construction changes for the high school renovation, and officials will learn whether they must seek bids to replace the school's indoor rifle range.

Tom Berkebile, a project manager with PJ Dick, presented change orders to the board on Monday. If approved, he said, the district will have spent 49 percent of the money it set aside for contingencies, slightly more than halfway through the $109.65 million, 41-month project.

The changes include:

• $51,884 to the general contractor for a stairwell in the fine arts wing that needed more work once crews found asbestos, and fireproofing on the fifth floor of the old classroom wing;

• $32,832 to the mechanical contractor for valves and screens in the heating system to prevent sediment buildup in pipes;

• $15,171 to the plumbing contractor to retest gas lines as requested by Equitable Gas, install gas equipment in science labs and replace water fountain cases according to regulations that stipulate how far they can project into hallways; and

• $89,979 to the electrical contractor to relocate power lines for elevators and add 10 security cameras on the lower level of the athletic building at the police department's request.

Board member Dan Remely asked why additional fireproofing wasn't part of the original plan.

“Our illustrious police department and fire department are spending a heck of a lot of our money,” he said, noting that their reviews required more safety measures.

Board member Dale Ostergaard said he's worried because the district approved changes costing more than $300,000 last month.

“If we continue at this pace, we're going to run out of contingency (money) in eight months,” he said.

Berkebile said it is hard to guarantee that changes won't keep happening — most result from unforeseen problems or last-minute tweaks — but the construction team is trying to keep costs contained.

The athletic and science wings are expected to open to students this semester. The renovated sixth floor was the first completed part of the project. It opened at the start of the school year.

The board will learn on Monday whether it can add a renovated indoor rifle range at the price contractors quoted nearly two years ago.

High bids in 2011 prompted officials to trim the project scope, making that $410,900 item an option if money was available.

Construction is moving toward the floor with the rifle range, and the board must decide whether to use unspent money on it, Superintendent Timothy Steinhauer said.

Staff will determine whether the old price for the range stands; if it doesn't, the board might re-bid the project.

Matthew Santoni is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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