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Chambersburg Area School District to open bids for high school renovations

November 30, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERBSURG, PA.

When the bids were opened in April for a new U.L. Gordy Elementary school, Chambersburg Area School District officials were pleased when they came in more than $3 million less than the amount budgeted for the project.

On Dec. 12, the administration hopes something similar will happen when bids are opened for a renovation and expansion project for Chambersburg Area Senior High School. The total budget is $73.8 million, with construction costs expected to be about $65 million, architect Paul Taylor told the school board last week.

Taylor, with the Mechanicsburg, Pa., architectural firm Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates, made a final presentation on the project at last week's meeting. Demolition and construction could start in the spring.

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The one major item eliminated from the wish list early in the planning to save money was an indoor pool, which carried an price tag of an estimated $4 million. Taylor reviewed for the board a number of other measures taken to shave costs.

One possibility being examined is putting the project on an accelerated schedule. That cost the district extra when it accelerated construction of Fayetteville (Pa.) Elementary, but the opposite could be true now, Superintendent Joseph Padasak said.

"Some contractors have indicated they may be able to give us a better price" on an 851-day construction schedule than on a 1,008-day schedule, Padasak said Wednesday. On such a large project, a general contractor could save money by compressing the schedule and having more crews working simultaneously, he said.

Taylor said the district will save money with a "limited scope renovation" of the existing classroom wing, rather than completely gutting the building. Some classrooms will be reconfigured, but the district wants to knock down as few walls as possible, Assistant Principal Kurt Widmann said.

Classrooms in the new three-story wing along Tolbert Avenue also were reduced in size by 5 percent to 807 square feet.

Some alternatives for the existing wing include putting tile over the existing tile and mounting new doors on existing frames, according to Taylor's presentation. Little will be done to the restrooms, which were renovated a few years ago and only need cosmetic repairs, Taylor said.

To be demolished are the technical education wing, part of the administrative wing and the stage and music rooms. The auditorium will be renovated.

In addition to the existing classroom wing and auditorium, the following renovations are proposed:

  • Converting the cafeteria to business classrooms.

  • Converting existing locker rooms into family and consumer science and child development labs.

  • Renovating and expanding the administrative wing.

    Along with the new classroom wing, the plan calls for the following additions:

  • A 2,400-seat gymnasium with a cardio fitness area on its upper level.

  • A new cafeteria and kitchen.

  • New technical education classrooms and greenhouse.

  • A library and media center.

    The existing building's heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system was replaced within the past few years and is relatively energy-efficient, Taylor said.

    "Green buildings. I've never heard that mentioned once during the project," Padasak said.

    "We would have had to get that direction from you a year and a half ago," Taylor said. "You have a lot of green elements in the building ... but you're not certifiably green."

    While there are many success stories for environmentally friendly architecture, Taylor said some school systems have not been satisfied with the savings realized for the extra construction costs.

    Environmental mandates in California, he said, have elevated the cost of some schools to from $450 to $600 per square foot, three times or more what Chambersburg will spend on the high school.

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