Plum school board to rebid school construction project
By Karen Zapf
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 4:54 p.m.
Adlai Stevenson Elementary students might spend more time in their temporary school than they anticipated.
The Plum School Board voted last week to reject construction bids for the Holiday Park Elementary School that is planned for the former Adlai Stevenson site and rebid the project.
Adlai Stevenson students attend classes in the former Pivik Elementary building on School Road.
Board member Shane McMasters, facilities committee chairman, said rebidding the project is expected to delay the start of construction and thus the completion of the school.
District officials plan to advertise for bids on Friday.
The school board is scheduled to consider awarding contracts at the Oct. 29 meeting, and groundbreaking is scheduled for Nov. 6.
The project is expected to be completed in 14 months.
The original timetable called for the building to be completed for students to move in mid-year during the 2014-15 school year.
The delay prompted officials to look at housing students in the former Pivik building for the entire 2014-15 school year, McMasters said.
Students and staff would start the 2015-16 year in the new building.
“It would be easier on everyone,” said McMasters, who added that no consideration was given to moving students in the middle of a semester.
“It would be much cleaner. They would have the summer to do everything.”
The decision to rebid was made after discussions with district solicitor Lee Price about the district's decision to solicit bids that have multiple prime contractors, versus a single prime contractor on the job.
The district initially bid the project both ways.
Pennsylvania School Code mandates that districts cannot accept single prime contractor bids, McMasters said.
“It doesn't say you can't solicit single-prime (contractor bids), but we don't want to put ourselves in jeopardy of not receiving (state) reimbursement for the project,” McMasters said. “So we decided to rebid.”
Department of Education officials did not respond to a inquiry regarding questions about rules for bidding school projects.
The district should receive more competitive bids in the second round because the previous bids have been made public, and contractors may use the opportunity to lower their bid prices, McMasters said.
“It is a chance to improve our position,” he said.
The move also could coincide with a planned redistricting that board members have discussed.
Superintendent Timothy Glasspool earlier this year outlined options for redistricting.
Most board members and some parents favored redistricting in the summer of 2015.
Adlai Stevenson Elementary PTA President Kristin Sofran said she doesn't have a problem with delaying the move to the new building.
“It won't make a big difference,” Sofran said.
“We are fine right now (at Pivik). It won't change anything from a PTA perspective.”
Board member Loretta White also welcomes the extra time.
“It seemed overly ambitious to finish the building in that length of time,” White said.
Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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