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Contractors decline to bid; Irwin gives job to public works

| Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Norwin Star
Renovation work at the Irwin Police Station includes interior painting and new tile floors.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Norwin Star
Renovation work at the Irwin police station includes interior painting and new tile floors.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Norwin Star
Renovation work at the Irwin police station includes interior painting and new tile floors.

Irwin officials have scrapped plans to pay a contractor to remodel the borough's shabby police station and instead are using its own employees to do the work.

Council in February approved the hiring of A to Z Construction of North Huntingdon to remodel the second-floor police station, which also houses the mayor's office. The $9,800 contract called for, among other things, repainting the interior of the station, installing commercial-grade vinyl flooring and refurbishing counter tops with new laminate.

But in March, the company told the borough it was no longer interested in taking on the project, according to borough officials.

“My understanding is that the contractor decided he did not want to do the work because he would lose too much money,” said Council President Robert Wayman. “When asked to rebid, he declined.”

A to Z's owner, David Shadd, declined to comment.

Two other companies were contacted by the borough to submit bids for the project but both declined, Wayman said.

“So the bottom line was to leave things as they were or go with public works,” he said.

At the time the original contract was approved, Wayman described the condition of the police station as “deplorable.”

The borough manager estimates that it has been at least 20 years since any major work was done in the second-floor facility.

On the advice of its solicitor, council rescinded the original contract and earmarked $11,858 for materials so the public works department could do the work.

“We've already gutted the interior and knocked out some walls to create a more open workspace,” said Jim Halfhill, the public works superintendent. “We also put in a new ceiling, new bathroom fixtures and installed work stations for the officers and police chief.”

The mayor's office will be moved to a combined office/meeting room that will be available for police personnel to use when they need to meet in private.

Halfhill said skilled tradesmen have been hired to do portions of the work, such as electrical wiring and building cabinets.

“We've made quite a bit of progress, and we're working as quickly as possible to get it all done,” he said.

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2360, or at tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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