State College

Change orders approved for State High project

The State College Area school board approved four change orders, totaling a combined $8,600, for the State High project on Monday.
The State College Area school board approved four change orders, totaling a combined $8,600, for the State High project on Monday. Centre Daily Times, file

On Monday night, the State College Area school board voted to approve four change orders to the State High project.

Three of those change orders total a combined cost of $8,600, while the fourth is a credit of $4,500.

Those first three change orders all address project needs — the replacement of unsuitable soil, the addition of floor diffusers in the North Building and the installation of a hat channel to support drywall in the South Auditorium/large group instruction room.

The credit of $4,500 is in regard to a reduction in excavation by the site contractor and is associated with another credit the district received in relation to a rainwater harvesting system that was previously removed from the plans.

During a status update on the State High construction, Ed Poprick, director of physical plant, noted that the project was proceeding on time and on budget, with a contingency of $4.4 million.

Poprick and the administration also recommended an update to the Districtwide Facilities Master Plan.

The revision would address potential elementary school renovation and construction projects at Houserville and Radio Park.

Project options are still under review, including the possible closure and repurposing of Corl Street Elementary. Under the pre-existing schedule, the board would have voted on a final plan in late September.

That initial timetable was based on the parameters surrounding two Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development grants that the district received, together totaling $3.8 million for elementary renovation or construction projects.

DCED guidelines had originally mandated that the projects be completed by June 2018, but because the grants were distributed on July 1, instead of in June as originally scheduled, that deadline was pushed back until June 2019.

Working toward the originally prescribed finish line of June 2018, the pre-existing schedule featured an accelerated design and approval phase of nine to 10 months rather than the more standard timetable of a year.

The decision to adjust the timetable to reflect the new deadline of June 2019 has afforded the district that extra time as well as an 18-month construction calendar instead of the 12-month period imposed by the June 2018 restriction.

A public forum scheduled for Aug. 15 will now shift to Sept. 19 at Mount Nittany Middle School, with an additional forum to be added to the calendar for Oct. 17 at a location that has yet to be determined.

The forum dates were adjusted with an eye toward allowing community members who are traveling or otherwise unavailable during the summer to become involved with the process.

Under the new timeline, the board will make a final decision regarding the potential projects in mid-November.

Earlier in the evening, the board had voted on an unrelated project involving repairs to an eroded drainage swale that runs through the Radio Park property and separates the bus parking area from the bus garage.

This second and final stage of the project will stabilize the bank on the east side of the swale and is funded by the Physical Plant 5-year Capital Improvement Plan.

The lowest bid for the project was submitted by R.C. Bowman Inc. at $50,800.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready