Sixth Grade Academy annex construction on schedule in McKeesport
A project designed to bring McKeesport Area School District middle-schoolers together with the latest technology is on schedule for completion by the beginning of 2015.
Officials broke ground on the new Sixth Grade Academy, also known as the Founders' Hall Annex, at Founders' Hall Middle School in mid-November.
“The project is on schedule right now. We have structural steel going up in areas,” said construction manager Joseph Brennan of PJ Dick Inc.
Masonry, electrical and plumbing work is being done in the locker room areas.
“We've started installation of piping down on the ground floor in the existing building, and we're putting pipes and hangers up in the second floor of the existing building to feed the new heating and air conditioning system,” Brennan said. “We're well on our way here.”
Brennan said classes at Founders' Hall are not being disrupted as a result of the construction.
School directors unanimously awarded bids for the Founders' Hall addition/renovation project in August.
Bids were awarded to Gurtner Construction for general contracting at $8,685,000, A-1 Electric for electrical construction at $1,294,000, R&B Mechanical for mechanical work at $3,510,000, and Wheels Mechanical for plumbing at $885,500.
The awards were subject to appropriate state PlanCon approvals, the issuance of all applicable permits, compliance with Act 34 requirements and review by district Solicitor Gary Matta.
PlanCon, or the planning and construction workbook, is a set of forms and procedures used to apply for state reimbursement.
Act 34 requires that a public hearing be held on all new construction and substantial additions for second-, third- and fourth-class school districts. It applies only to costs for new construction, and the hearings are to inform the public of the proposed project.
The district had two Department of Education-required hearings for the academy. The second one was for a projected increase in project costs.
Several change orders were approved since then, both decreasing and increasing the cost of work.
Brennan said there was a $16,400 deduction for gymnasium flooring by the general contractor. An increase of $5,627 for sanitary tap modifications along Eden Park Boulevard and an increase of $27,049 for the relocation of a gas line were processed for Wheels Mechanical.
R&B Mechanical and A-1 Electric had no change orders processed to date, Brennan said.
“There are several reasons (for) change orders,” Brennan said. “It could be an error or an omission on the architect's part, the designer's part. It could be an unforeseen condition such as the gas line relocation ... Then there are things that come up throughout the duration of the project. That's pretty common. Substantial completion (will be done) by Dec. 14. Final completion (is due) by Jan. 9, 2015.”
Substantial completion means the academy will be ready for occupancy. There may be some punch list items the architect would want done by the contractors.
“I think things are going quite well right now,” Brennan said. “With all this rain it doesn't make the excavation and the footer work too easy. We have to try and stay on schedule even though we have these weather constraints. I'd like to see a little less rain, put it that way.”
Ryan Pierce of JC Pierce LLC is the architect of the 45,000-square-foot two-story academy along Eden Park Boulevard.
It will contain 16 classrooms, one life-skills room, a large faculty space, a large group instruction room, a dedicated science lab and two small group instruction rooms. The basement level will have a semi-finished wrestling practice room and locker rooms.
“This was part of the complete kindergarten through sixth-grade realignment in the McKeesport Area School District,” district spokesperson Kristen Davis said. “We wanted to continue offering our students in the district the best learning opportunities. We were able to build a new building and add additions to two of our existing buildings, creating a state-of-the-art learning experience for our students.
“Additionally, going from four K-5 buildings down to two is a great cost savings in regards to utilities and day-to-day operating costs. Enabling the sixth-grade to join the existing seventh- and eighth-grade building promotes a true middle school feeling on this campus.”
Twin Rivers Primary and Intermediate are the new schools the district built at 1600 and 1602 Cornell St. to consolidate elementary classes. They opened earlier this year.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965 .
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McKeesport man accused of firing at child to stand trial
- East Allegheny may meet this week with education association
- Erie attorney named trustee for bankrupt Homestead Cemetery
- Ankle replacement makes UPMC McKeesport history
- Charges held against suspect in McKeesport market robbery, assault
- McKeesport man charged with sex assault on 13-year-old girl
- Local residents reminisce about Glassport pool
- Mifflin Road project is on schedule, within budget
- McKeesport prepares for Relay For Life
- Student ‘geek squad’ to help train Steel Valley classmates on iPads
- New traffic lights to be installed near McKeesport’s Jerome Bridge