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Carlynton board takes next step toward remodeling buildings

| Thursday, March 14, 2013, 11:01 a.m.
Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item
Carlynton School Board directors James Schriver, left , and Nyra Schell listen to Jon Thomas of Thomas and Williamson construction management firm discuss his thoughts about Carlynton school district renovations during a meeting.
Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item
Carlynton School Board director Ray Walkowiak gives his thoughts about upcoming Carlynton school district renovations during a public meeting.

The Carlynton Board of Education is expected to vote today, Thursday, to hire engineering firms and architects for remodeling at Carnegie and Crafton elementary schools, which will begin this summer.

“When school is through this school year, I just want to see that we're in a position where we get started on the work, and nothing we've done prior to that is holding us back,” board President David Roussos said at a special meeting March 7.

The primary work that could start this summer involve the electrical and heating and air conditioning at the two elementary schools.

Security improvements also could be made.

Electrical, heating and air conditioning

The board will likely vote Thursday on hiring engineering firms to tackle the design for electrical and heating and air conditioning upgrades at the elementary schools.

Project manager Jon Thomas, president of construction management firm Thomas and Williamson, recommended the school hire two separate firms: one for Carnegie Elementary and one for Crafton. Such a decision comes with a slightly higher cost estimate — about $15,000 — but Thomas said it makes it easier to get the job done this summer.

“We've got a pretty aggressive design timetable that we want to maintain,” he said.

Thomas estimates the cost for heating and air conditioning are about $4.7 million.

The preliminary schedule calls for schematic design and design development to take place through March and April, with bidding beginning in May.

The new electrical service and a recirculation cooling system would be operational Sept. 5, with heating and air conditioning fully operational by mid-October.

Thomas said the cooling in place Sept. 5 would be akin to window air conditioners. The full version, which will dehumidify the air, won't be ready at that point.

Security

The timetable for security improvements appears to be slightly murkier, though the board could vote tonight on hiring architectural firms to aid in the design of captured vestibules at the elementary schools.

Board members say they want the security improvements to begin as soon as possible.

“Looking at the emphasis we've placed on the enclosed vestibule, I'd like to do that as soon as we can,” Roussos said.

Thomas said the main issue with the captured vestibule is that it can't be completed over the summer. However, contractors could begin the process.

“You can't build an addition in three months,” Thomas said. “But it's usually nice to start an addition in the summer so that you can acclimate the building for the addition and have a temporary way into the building while that's happening during the school year.”

Because the creation of the captured vestibule will require moving the main office at the elementary schools, the architecture firms will help in the design process.

The movement of the Carnegie Elementary office will require the reshuffling and redesign of several rooms at the school, at an estimated cost of $1.3 million.

Other security improvements, such as the replacement of exterior doors, could also get going this summer.

Audience members at the March 7 meeting, including Carnegie Mayor Jack Kobistek and Crafton Councilwoman Tracy Post, expressed worries about security at the Charles Street entrance of Carnegie Elementary, particularly when deliveries take place.

“That access there has always been a concern for me as a parent,” Kobistek said.

The district's remodeling plans call for an electronic method of entry at exterior doors, but board members say school officials also should consider a procedural fix, as well as a physical one.

“When someone is there for deliveries, there has to be someone from the building there to be physically accountable for that person making the delivery, however well-known or trustworthy they are,” board member Nyra Schell said.

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-8527 or dgulasy@tribweb.com.

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