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Gateway officials to consider new architect

| Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Times Express
The poor condition of Gateway's softball field was brought to the attention of the school board at a recent meeting.

Gateway officials are confident that a new architect is needed to help complete unfinished capital improvement projects throughout the school district.

The board is expected next month to hire Pittsburgh based HHSDR Architects and Engineers for projects that were budgeted for completion over the summer — before the start of the school year — but remain unfinished, district officials said last week.

School Director Dave Magill in August voiced his frustration with North Huntingdon-based Axis Architecture, which originally was hired by the district to complete designs and paperwork for multiple projects, including roof repair at the high school and additional rest rooms at Cleveland Steward Jr. Elementary.

Superintendent Nina Zetty last week said work by an architect from Axis resulted in zero bids from contractors for the capital improvement projects. Magill said the owner of Axis dealt directly with Gateway on the projects in question.

Reached by phone on Monday, Axis owner Hank Tkacik declined to comment.

Zetty said that based on her experience with HHSDR, the firm “had proven itself to be economically prudent, experienced in decision-making and highly competent in design and project implementation.”

An HHSDR architect will take a final “walk through” of district facilities to visualize improvement projects before winter, Zetty said.

The district has about $1.6 million to use on projects this school year, according to the Gateway business office.

“There may be additional projects for 2013-14 based upon upcoming buildings and grounds committee meetings, if there is money left in the capital reserve fund,” Zetty said.

In addition to capital improvement projects, general maintenance work is necessary at the high school softball field, school Director Scott Williams said at the Sept. 16 meeting.

“There's a number of items that need addressed,” Williams said. “It's something we need to address now, before the spring comes. Because when the spring comes, it'll be too wet to do anything.”

The field will be added to the list of maintenance projects, Zetty said.

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

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