ShareThis Page

Jefferson Hills DPW to get needed storage facility

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 9:04 p.m.

Tom Lovell wanted to do a cartwheel after the July 8 Jefferson Hills Council meeting.

“I was nervous,” the borough's public works director said.

Council approved four bids by 4-0 votes for the construction of new public works and salt storage facilities along Old Clairton Road behind the borough offices and near Jefferson Elementary. President Chris King and council members Vickie Ielase and Janice Cmar were absent.

The price of the facilities increased from $3.5 million to about $4.15 million.

“I have a grave concern for this project,” said council member Tracey Khalil. “It's not something that I want to hold up because it's needed. It's needed desperately. We need to, as we always have done, move forward carefully and cautiously.”

Dave McLean of McLean Architects LLC spoke to council at the July 3 meeting, explaining that the cost increase had a lot to do with expansive soil, which swells when wet, that was found on the building site.

“It's not that the building has features and things in it that are beyond what you need,” McLean said. “A lot of the cost is in permanent improvement that has to be done correctly to ensure that the construction is done properly.”

One option to cut costs would have been to reduce the size of the salt storage center in half, cutting the salt supply from 4,000 to 2,000 tons. The savings would have been $113,900. Now the borough will have the ability to store a year's surplus of salt, buffering costs if there is any fluctuation in the salt market.

Currently, public works stores its salt under a tarp, which can be problematic, Lovell said.

“In the wintertime, salt clumps,” Lovell said. “It takes a lot of time to bust up the salt. If they miss one basketball-size chunk of salt, it jams the trucks up. It's just miserable down there.”

Contracts were awarded to General Mechanical Contractors Inc. for $2.9 million for general construction; East West Manufacturing & Supply Co. Inc. for $407,000 for heating, ventilation and air conditioning; Vrabel Plumbing Co. LLC for $317,200 for plumbing and to A-1 Electric Inc. for $502,000 for electrical work.

Borough finance director and acting manager Andrew McCreery suggested covering the added costs by purchasing a $1 million note as well as using general funds.

Brittany Goncar is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.