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$7.8 million South High contract awarded despite concerns

August 16, 2000

$7.8 million South High contract awarded despite concerns

By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer

The Washington County Board of Education Tuesday awarded a $7.8 million construction contract for the second phase of the South Hagerstown High School renovation project to a Waynesboro contractor despite concerns from a board member and another local contractor about some of the school's planned features.

The contract was awarded to Waynesboro Construction Inc. because it posted the lowest responsible bid for the project according to state law, the School Board said.

Board members Paul Bailey, Doris Nipps, B. Marie Byers, Andrew Humphreys and J. Herbert Hardin approved the contract award, while Mary Wilfong abstained. Board member Edwin Hayes was not at the meeting.

Total costs, including architect and engineering fees, change orders, inspection and furniture put the final price for the second phase at $8.7 million. The state will contribute $4.7 million of that cost.


Wilfong questioned the necessity of three of the school's planned features, including a $160,000 bus canopy, a $30,000 gym divider and $20,300 worth of ceramic kitchen tile.

"I understand that's a very fancy canopy," Wilfong said. "Should we be a little more conservative?"

Dennis McGee, director of facilities management, said the canopy adds character to the building and its arched roof will match the arched roofs on the gym and media center.

He also said the canopy will mark the school's new main entrance, which will be moved to the back of the school. The current entrance is on the heavily traveled South Potomac Street. The entrance change is planned to make conditions safer for students.

McGee said a new gym divider is needed because the current one is 40 years old and falling apart, while ceramic tile for the kitchen lasts longer and is easier to clean.

Contractor Dominick Perini, of Perini Construction in Hagerstown, said the bus canopy and gym divider could be built at lower costs than those in the accepted bid.

Waynesboro Construction put costs at $160,000 for the canopy and $30,000 for the gym divider, while Perini bid higher amounts of $170,000 and $175,000. Perini said costs could be slashed by refurbishing, rather than replacing, the gym divider, and re-designing the canopy.

Perini built the first phase of the project.

"There are two alternates that are not value alternates to the board," Perini said. "They could be done at a lesser cost, and the quality will be as good or exceeding."

Greg Brown, president of Waynesboro Construction, said it was a coincidence that Perini attended the meeting after all bids were made public with ideas about how to save the School Board money. He said the process was over and done properly.

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