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Connellsville school board questions $100,000 in change orders

| Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, 7:24 a.m.

Connellsville Area School Board members questioned almost $100,000 in change orders for the senior high school renovation project during Monday night's planning session.

“I don't mind if it's something that we decided to add,” President John Detwiler said. “But we shouldn't have to pay for anything twice.”

Detwiler said he was concerned about the additional cost of $21,976 to Hranec Corp. for costs associated with providing a heat pump, duct work, piping and controls for the TV studio.

“Why didn't we know that we needed a heat pump?” Detwiler asked.

John Pappas, Eckles construction manager, said he understands the board's concern about the change orders, but indicated there is plenty of money remaining in the contingency fund to complete the project.

When the project began, Pappas said, there was $1.23 million in the contingency fund. But even with the pending approval of the change orders at Wednesday night's school board meeting, he said $815,662 remains in the fund.

“I know that school board members don't like to see change orders, but it's a necessary part of the construction process,” Pappas said.

In addition to discussing change orders, Pappas also presented school board members with a project update and summary.

Pappas said the auditorium and commons area will be substantially complete this week.

“The contractors finished lowing the auditorium balcony railing last week,” he said. “This will allow the seating and finishes to be completed this week. The final finishes are also being installed in the new commons area and main entrance.”

Pappas said the auxiliary gym will be permanently enclosed this year.

“The tile and resinous flooring are being installed throughout this entire area along with the painting,” he said. “The contractors have also installed ceilings throughout the locker rooms. The terrazzo flooring in this area will begin next week and the gymnasium flooring is scheduled to start the first week in March.”

Pappas said contractors are gearing up to begin the natatorium improvements. The first coordination meeting with the pool contractor is scheduled this week. The work is scheduled to begin around the middle of March.

Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.

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