Franklin Regional to modify design, re-bid Sloan ‘elementary campus’ project
Franklin Regional School Board will request its architect redesign some elements of the Sloan “elementary campus” project after rejecting all bids submitted this month.
“The bids we received exceeded estimates from our architects, VEBH, during the feasibility study and from Massaro Construction during the design phase of the project,” Superintendent Gennaro Piraino said. “First and foremost, the cost of renovations to the (existing Sloan Elementary School, intended for future use as a) K-2 building, far exceeded what we were expecting.”
Piraino added that a lengthy development and permitting process, along with the traditional annual inflation of construction costs, all contributed to bid estimates that made school board members uncomfortable.
District officials declined to provide bid details. The Tribune-Review has submitted a Right-to-Know request seeking the information.
According to resident Gary English, who is cross-filed as a school board candidate in the May primary, board members should be considering legal ramifications, given the project has been challenged in court.
“Voting for and approving bids while there is ongoing litigation? You’re putting the taxpayers at risk,” English said. “If there is a successful challenge to the Sloan project, and it does not get constructed, taxpayers would still be at risk if in fact the bids are approved.”
Piraino briefly referenced the court challenge, in which a group of residents, the “Sloan Project Concerned Citizens,” challenged Murrysville council’s approval of the project in Common Pleas court on the grounds that project conditions did not go far enough in protecting the health, safety and welfare of the community.
The school district has intervened in the legal challenge, taking the position that conditions set by the municipality go too far.
“Expensive, and in some cases unwarranted, conditions imposed on this project by outside entities added unwarranted costs,” Piraino said.
A statement from the school board and administration directed project architects to modify the existing design “in a way that reduces cost without sacrificing the educational vision, the needs of our students and staff and the viability of these educational facilities.”
Board member Dennis Pavlik said while the overall project costs came in under limits set by the state, the numbers were not where the board would prefer.
“The costs for the new building were pretty much right on,” Pavlik said “The biggest cost that we got was the Sloan renovations. We’ve had delays that have added to the cost, and that’s unfortunate … But we’re going to make sure we get your money’s worth.”
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .