State College

State College Borough Council set to vote next week on bid for public works facility renovation

Though borough staff recommends approval of a renovated public works facility at about $1.7 million more than originally planned, Borough Council members expressed support Monday night.

Staff will recommend to the council next week that they accept the base bid and five alternate bids for the renovation of the borough’s Osmond Street maintenance facility. The low bidder of six is Poole Anderson at a total of $7.9 million, more than the original estimate of $6.2 million.

That doesn’t include professional services of $600,000 and contingency of $500,000, bringing the total project to $9 million. The borough will borrow the money.

The project adds storage space to bring inside borough trucks that currently must sit out in the elements, and greatly improves stormwater management. The latter is the biggest problem at the site, and the borough has lost equipment during heavy rains that cause flooding.

“We’ve lost brake drums, transmissions due to the flooding that has occurred down there,” said Public Works Director Mark Whitfield. “Probably $2,500 to $3,000 in material goods that were being stored there that we couldn’t get out of the way.”

The base bid of about $5.9 million includes all site work, warm and cold storage buildings, debris containment, tree, salt and other storage, and the stormwater retention basin that would also serve as a public athletic field.

The alternatives are an administration building for $867,000; a truck wash and fueling station for $775,000; a vehicle impound shelter for $175,000; a public pavilion for $162,000; and perimeter insulation for the cold storage building for $6,900.

The truck wash originally included a compressed natural gas component, but Whitfield said he no longer recommends that, due to the cost of installing it, as well as the low cost of natural gas the borough already purchases from the Centre Area Transportation Authority.

Several issues led to a cost higher than the estimate. Soft soils on site will require more excavation and a larger building foundation, an on-site sinkhole requires work and the original estimate is several years old.

While no votes could be taken during Monday’s work session, several members expressed support for the price increase. A vote to accept the bid is set for the regular meeting Sept. 16.

Councilwoman Sarah Klinetob, who served on a project design review committee, said there weren’t too many “frilly” items included.

“I have to admit, there’s a lot of disappointment that it’s so far away from $6.2 million, but the reality is it’s an investment,” said Borough Council President Don Hahn.