State College

SCASD proceeds toward next phase of Memorial Field project

On Monday evening, the State College Area school board discussed several different construction projects, all in various stages of development.

The board voted to approve the administration’s recommendation to enlist the “design professional” services of Weber Murphy Fox for the next phase of the Memorial Field project.

The recommendation was months in the making, following a request for proposal that was released in January and the evaluation of the responses, collected in February, by the board facilities committee and the Citizens Advisory Council for Facilities.

Interviews were held earlier this month between the committee and representatives from Weber Murphy Fox and Crabtree Rohrbaugh and Associates.

A contract for Weber Murphy Fox will be will be drawn up for board review and potential approval during another meeting.

Also discussed were potential renovations and additions to the Houserville and Radio Park elementary schools.

The district received board approval to apply for two Pennsylvania Alternative and Clean Energy Program grants, both of which would commit the district to LEED Gold Certification and reimburse 10 percent of construction costs, up to $2 million each.

The deadline to apply is April 1.

Discussions regarding possible change orders to the State High project will also continue, with the board revisiting the potential substitution of ground-face concrete masonry units for the stone veneer originally planned for along the Westerly Parkway side of the South Building. That number alone would be $69,550.

During a board meeting earlier this month, the item was met with a 4-4 vote. On Monday evening, a motion to reconsider would have to have originated from board President Amber Concepcion or board members Gretchen Brandt, Daniel Duffy or Laurel Zydney, all of whom previously voted against accepting the change order.

Failing that, a motion was made to renew the item on the agenda for the April 18 board meeting, where it will be treated as a regular action item.

In weeks past, the board has voted on several change orders to the project, which so far have totaled $1,669,470 in savings.

Instead of being immediately applied to the reduction of the total project cost, currently projected at $137,249,182, the savings from the change orders will be reflected in the construction contingency.

A contingency covers unexpected developments in a construction project — encountering rock, for example.

The original budgeted contingency for the State High project was reflected as a value of 2.75 percent against the awarded bid amounts. When factoring in the change orders, that value changes to 3.52 percent.

Should any of the construction contingency remain, it will be put back toward the total project cost.

The board also voted to approve the Supplemental Property Tax Rebate Program for the 2016-17 year, with a suggested allotment of $100,000. The program is designed to provide eligible households with property tax relief.

Eligibility requirements include a household income that does not exceed $35,000 a year. The maximum annual rebate per household is $650.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready