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O'Hara votes to seek bids for community center

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Boyd Community Center Executive Director Stephanie Flom couldn't contain her excitement last week after O'Hara Council gave the green light to move forward on plans for a new $8.2 million facility.

“It's finally happening,” she said, raising her arms into the air. “People wanted to see something moving on this and they're going to get it.”

Council voted to seek bids for construction on a new center that will replace the 31-year-old school building along Powers Run Road. Councilman Bart Bodkin was absent.

Some residents questioned the move, because organizers are short about $500,000 in the capital campaign.

“I fear that council will commit the taxpayers to picking up the slack,” Tom Portante said.

Flom said moving forward is crucial.

“The bid is so important as it will determine the actual cost of the project,” Flom said. “Donors want to help us fill any remaining gap to build this amazing building, and the bid will provide this essential information.”

At worst, Flom said, the project could be rebid.

During its meeting, council also granted final land development approval pending five conditions that council President Bob Smith called minor.

“They include things about grading, erosion and lighting,” he said.

Flom said the new site will be built to suit the needs of area residents, with room for program growth. Specifications call for a building with 28,000 square feet of space.

If bids come in lower than expected, alternate features such as more gym space, a patio and an expanded multipurpose room could be added.

Boyd currently offers more than 300 courses in cramped classrooms that often are subject to maintenance problems, Flom said.

“We are thrilled to proceed with this,” she said of the project that has been stalled five years in planning and fundraising.

Township Manager Julie Jakubec said council will seek bids on six separate contracts that include electrical, plumbing and general construction work. Bids will be due May 6.

The new community center will be built on the 11-acre property where the current building is located. If a contract is awarded in May, construction is expected to be completed by 2015.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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