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

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