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Steel Valley board rejects buildings maintenance study

| Friday, April 5, 2013, 1:31 a.m.

The majority of the Steel Valley school board chose not to have a maintenance study performed on district buildings — at least for now.

Directors last week rejected by a 4-3 vote the development of one-, five- and 10-year capital replacement plans by Integrated Services & Consultants Inc. for $9,200.

“They were going to look at our actual physical plant and (would) actually say in one-year, five-year and 10-year plans how we ought to look to replace our existing physical plant,” Steel Valley superintendent Ed Wehrer said.

The cost included reviewing district operations for efficiency gains and evaluation of Act 39 contracts.

“The evaluation of possible Act 39 contracts is if we get to that point where we have some different vendors that are giving us guaranteed energy savings projects,” Wehrer said. “We want somebody who has expertise to be able to evaluate them.”

He said the review is whether the district is being as efficient as possible.

School board president Beth Cannon and directors Donald Bajus, Donna Kiefer and Colette Youngblood dissented. School board vice president Vince Natale and directors Susan Ballas and Thomas Olson were in favor of the motion. School directors Joe Ducar and Michael Terrick were absent.

“I think the district is in need of a long-range plan for facilities,” Ballas said. “We have not had that in a while.”

Bajus said he wanted to see a budget before he voted on it.

“I just wanted to discuss it a little bit more,” Youngblood said. “I wasn't saying ‘no' because I disagreed. I didn't get enough information.”

She said she had to leave a work session early.

Natale said the school board can revisit it at a later time.

Steel Valley directors eventually approved a $33,624 Honeywell bid by a 6-1 vote to install air conditioning in the middle school cafeteria. Some directors expressed concern because the company didn't meet a bid requirement because the anti bid-rigging affidavit wasn't notarized.

Ballas was the only dissenter.

“I'm going to vote for Honeywell because I think it's very important to get the air conditioning into the building,” Olson said.

He said he didn't like that Honeywell did not meet all of the criteria for the bid.

“I cannot vote for Honeywell when they did not sign the affidavit,” Ballas said.

The first vote on the matter failed because five votes, or the majority of the board, is required to approve contracts under Pennsylvania School Code Section 508, district solicitor Don Fetzko said.

Originally Cannon, Bajus, Kiefer and Natale voted for Honeywell, and Ballas, Olson and Youngblood favored Hruska.

Hruska Plumbing's bid was $39,115.

Steel Valley directors also approved:

• A $19,615 payment to Otis Elevator Co. to repair the high school elevator.

• Services from Honeywell for ventilation of the team room's equipment space, not to exceed $9,000.

• Purchasing a John Deere front loader for $3,668.21.

• Accepting a $1,200 contribution from Paul Lienhardt to begin a fund to further historic educational opportunities in the district.

• Accepting the donation of a 32-inch television from Dan and Sue Kinzel for Park Elementary School.

Stacy Lee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or slee@tribweb.com.

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