Vo-tech board seeking construction manager for renovation
After scrapping a proposed $9 million contract for Chevron Energy Solutions last week, the Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center's leadership is seeking a new construction manager for a renovation to the 38-year-old vo-tech building in New Stanton.
The center's Joint Operating Committee — comprised of school board members from the nine participating districts — wants to interview three prospective construction managers before its Feb. 27 meeting in preparation for a new 60-day window for soliciting project bids.
Committee members on Jan. 30 unanimously rescinded the center's proposed deal for Chevron, which would have been the construction manager and contractor through terms of the Act 39, the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act.
The first major renovation in the center's history required support from all nine school boards, but Norwin officials declined to vote on it and the Hempfield Area and Belle Vernon Area boards didn't put it on their agendas last month. Southmoreland delayed its scheduled vote until after the vo-tech meeting.
Barb Viola, who is president of the vo-tech committee, said her colleagues on the Norwin School Board were concerned about the previous request for proposals for the project. When it was bid out last year, Chevron was one of only two contractors that applied within the 30-day window.
Some committee members said they wanted a professional consultant to review the project specifications, questioning if Chevron might have “padded” its proposal to increase the cost. Toward the end of January, vo-tech administrators received information from Chevron that it was willing to reduce the cost to about $8.1 million.
Viola said she hopes six or seven firms bid on the project this time around.
“It's not a ‘no' to the project,” Viola said of Norwin's decision. “It's the way (the bids) went out.”
Hempfield School Board member Bob McDonald said financing was among the district's concerns because officials wanted information about potentially floating a bond. With the Chevron deal, districts would have been required to contribute upfront costs toward improvements that were projected to reduce energy costs in the long run.
The vo-tech committee last week appointed Penn-Trafford Superintendent Thomas Butler, Yough School Board member Karl Spudy and the vo-tech's assistant administrative director, Jeffrey Geesey, to identify three prospective construction managers for the project.
Butler said officials hope to be able to select a contractor in May so work may begin soon after.
The project would include upgrading the building's heating and cooling systems and replacing the roof and windows, among other improvements to the mechanical areas in the center.
Under the existing conditions, the vo-tech cannot run its welding programs at the center because the exhaust system is not up to code, Butler said.
Nick Petrucci, who is Penn-Trafford's representative on the vo-tech committee, said he is frustrated by the delay in the project because he worries that the center's three boilers might fail before the end of the school year. The center might have to shut down for six to eight weeks if the boilers fail before summer, he said.
“I personally want those boilers done this summer,” Petrucci said. “You're pushing year 39 on boilers that are about 15 years past their life-expectancy.”
CWCTC Director Brad Elwood conceded that the conditions of the boilers are a concern.
“We've been fortunate so far,” he said.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8671 or email@example.com.
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.