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Trojan Stadium bids soar above estimates

February 23, 2006|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Bids to refurbish Chambersburg Area Senior High School's Trojan Stadium came it at more than $6.1 million, about $1 million more than the district earmarked for the project, but the Chambersburg School Board voted to award contracts and negotiate with contractors to trim the cost.

The general construction contract for $4,794,000 went to Waynesboro Construction and a $1,109,000 electrical contract was awarded to Ellsworth Electric of Pa. Inc. Two smaller contracts for plumbing and heating and air-conditioning totaling $215,540 went to Stouffer Mechanical Contractor, according to the bid documents.

"There were a number of areas where there were scope changes ... that changed the cost," said Thomas Crabtree of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates of Mechanicsburg, Pa., the architect for the project.

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"It's breathtaking to me that two light poles can cost $135,000," Crabtree said of two light standards the architects thought could be retained. Manufacturers for the lighting equipment that would go atop the existing poles, however, raised concerns about their structural safety.

Stormwater management issues raised by the borough resulted in about $250,000 more being added to the project, Crabtree said.

"Your old track was one foot out of level," said Crabtree. That will add to the cost of leveling the field for a new track, he said.

"It would be interesting if you have any state records" in track and field that might be effected by the downhill slope, he said.

"This is a football game, not a five-star restaurant," board member Stanley Helman said of the estimate of $239,000 for concession stand kitchen equipment. The existing concession stands have about $30,000 in equipment, he said.

That part of the project escalated about $89,000 as a result of discussions with food service staff, Crabtree said.

Crabtree said his firm can negotiate with the contractors to remove some items or make substitutions to try and bring costs down. The board directed him to do so.

Board president Craig Musser said he was "very offended" that the scope of the project had changed since a January review and that the district had not been alerted by the architects.

In December, the estimate was between $4.2 million and $5.2 million for construction, Business Manager Rick Vensel said. That figure did not include architectural and permit fees, land development costs and other expenses that bring the total to about $6.8 million, he said.

A $38 million bond issue approved by the board last year earmarked $5,764,825 for the stadium. Vensel said the district paid about $600,000 less than budgeted for 78 acres for a new high school and could take money from the capital reserve fund to make up the difference.

Following the meeting, the board began a discussion on the future configuration of secondary schools. Most were in agreement that the district should have two middle schools for sixth through eighth grades and high school will have grades nine through 12.

Helman and new board members Paul Ambrose and Norman Blowers said they favored two high school buildings - one for grades nine and 10 and another for grades 11 and 12.

"I can't see 3,000 kids at one location," Helman said.

Board member Thomas Orndorf said he believes the 78-acre site can accommodate a school that large and should continue planning along those lines.

In August 2004 the board authorized borrowing up to $116 million for a 2,800-student high school and two elementary schools. A recent study, however, indicates the population of high school students will be about 3,100 by 2015.

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