Franklin Regional delays contracts on elementary consolidation project
Franklin Regional school board members did not award contracts Monday for the estimated $54 million construction project to consolidate its elementary schools onto one campus.
The agenda for the board’s committee-of-the-whole meeting Feb. 4 listed “awarding of prime contracts for the Sloan Elementary Additions & Alterations Project and the New Franklin Regional Intermediate School Project” among the items to be discussed.
Those items are typically revisited by the board at the monthly voting meeting. The Sloan project was not.
District Communications Director Cara Zanella referred questions to district solicitor Gary Matta, who was not available for comment.
The district plans to renovate Sloan Elementary into a building serving kindergarten through second grade, and construct a new elementary school on the property serving grades 3 to 5.
Murrysville resident Gary English told board members they should delay awarding the contracts while the project is the subject of legal action. A group of district residents, the “Sloan Project Concerned Citizens,” have appealed Murrysville council’s approval of the project.
“If the school board awards the construction bids, the taxpayers will be liable,” English said. “If the lawsuit prevails, and construction is halted, taxpayers will still be liable for the construction bids.”
The school district has intervened in the appeal, and school board member Dennis Pavlik objected to the intervention being characterized as the school district “filing a lawsuit.”
“The school board, in order to defend itself, also had to join that lawsuit, in order to see that there was an adequate defense,” Pavlik said. “And as in all land-use cases, we appealed all of those (conditions) that we thought were unjust.”
English said school officials should allow the legal challenge to play out before taking any further action.
“Moving forward with the bidding process while the lawsuit is still pending is not responsible,” he said.
A court date has not been set for the Sloan Project Concerned Citizens appeal.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .