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PHSD puts track out to bid, considers press box options

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Penn Hills School District officials are working to complete renovations at Yuhas-McGinley Stadium.

Construction of a new running track has been put out to bid, business director Rick Liberto told the school district's finance committee at the April 15 meeting.

Bids were due back by Monday, which will give the school board a chance to award a contract at its meeting this month.

The district received two bids as of April 15, Liberto said. Bid specifications state work cannot begin until after commencement June 7 and must be finished by July 13, when Pittsburgh East Relay for Life organizers will use the track for their annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

Penn Hills track and field runners do not have any home meets this year because of the condition of the track.

Press box

School district officials also want to have a new press box in time for the 2013 football season.

After the finance committee balked at plans for a three-level, $2 million press box, Liberto and construction manager Dennis Russo presented options for a prefabricated box at the committee's April 15 meeting.

At the committee's direction, Liberto told district architects Architectural Innovations to scale back the original plans. Russo, however, viewed the changes with a skeptical eye.

“What they basically did was, when you asked them to lower the cost they just eliminated things that we needed,” he said.

Russo showed the committee a $1.1 million budget for what would be a four-level prefabricated box.

“What we'll end up doing is building a four-story press box, but the bottom floor will be a 60-(foot)-by-14-(foot) area you can use for storage,” he said.

Bill Navari, who announces Penn Hills football games and consulted with athletic director John Peterman on the original design for the box, said a prefabricated box was “exactly what I was afraid the school district would choose.”

“I think we have an ideal location to attract games to our stadium,” Navari said. “I don't want to be penny wise and pound foolish when we have a real opportunity here.”

Navari objected to partitions shown in sample photos distributed at the finance committee meeting, saying that boxes with divided viewing areas do not always permit a view of the entire field.

Russo noted that the photos represented just one of about 15 options available, and that he could discuss those options with Navari.

Russo estimated the box would take six weeks to build, and two days to set in place. He set a target date of Aug. 20 for completion and said if the board is able to vote on a press box at its May meeting he plans to begin preparing for its installation by June 11.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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