state college borough council

State College Borough Council approves debt of $9.7 million for public works facility

jvanderk@centredaily.comOctober 8, 2013 

— After more questions about the cost of renovations to the borough’s public works facility, the five council members present Monday night approved borrowing $9.7 million for that and another project.

Council members Cathy Dauler and Ron Filippelli were absent, though Dauler indicated her support in an email to council President Don Hahn.

The vote was postponed from a September meeting, when council members had questions about the project bids and staff recommended waiting for more information instead of rejecting any of the bids.

The approval follows borough staff’s recommendation to accept low bidder Poole Anderson for $7.7 million. That covers the base bid and an administration building, truck wash/fueling station, covered impound shelter and cold truck storage insulation.

The recommendation eliminates a bid for a community picnic pavilion, which Public Works Director Mark Whitfield indicated could be built by borough crews.

The debt also includes $600,000 for professional services, $500,000 contingency, and $800,000 to complete Atherton Street pedestrian safety improvements that will include fencing and wider sidewalks.

Council previously approved the Atherton Street scope of work, which included that level of borrowing, said Manager Tom Fountaine.

A vote on just the maintenance facility project passed 4-1, with Councilman Jim Rosenberger opposing. Councilman Tom Daubert made the initial motion to approve those bids, separating it from a later motion to approve the borrowing for both projects.

Rosenberger previously questioned some the project’s costs, and did so again Monday, including those for the $867,000 administration building. Seeking LEED certification was abandoned early in the project, but the plan includes green concepts, like increased insulation.

“The calculations about square footage costs are surprisingly high,” Rosenberger said.

Buchart Horn Inc. architect Scott Loercher said the cold and warm truck storage buildings came in, as expected, at about $100 per square foot. The administration building was expected to come in between $240 and $250 per square foot, most recently estimated at $270 and Poole Anderson’s estimate was “high” at $330.

Loercher said that figure includes controls for the other buildings that will be installed in administration, such as the fuel pump access technology and alarm systems.

Councilwoman Sarah Klinetob asked what rebidding the project would require and Whitfield said it would require somehow changing the project scope.

“I truly think that the bids were very competitive,” given the two lowest were within $1,300 of each other, he said. “If you want to bring the cost down, you would have to change some of the design features.”

The Osmond Street project will provide needed additional storage space for trucks currently sitting outside, and address frequent flooding with upgraded stormwater management.

Jessica VanderKolk can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter.

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