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Bids for new school OK'd by Chambersbiurg School Board

April 26, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Bids for a new U.L. Gordy Elementary School were approved Wednesday by the Chambersburg School Board, at a price about $3 million lower than expected.

The low bids for construction of the 600-student school in Chambersburg came in at $14.7 million. The general contractor will be ECI Construction of Dillsburg, Pa., the same company serving as general contractor for the very similar Fayetteville Elementary, due to open this fall.

"The bidding climate is better ... contractors are a little bit hungry," architect John Pryor said when asked why the bids were so low.

Business Manager Rick Vensel said ECI's general contracting bid of $8 million was 25 percent below what the district's architects had expected. Overall, the bids on all contracts were 17 percent below estimates.

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Another reason bids were lower, Vensel said, was that site costs, particularly for excavation, were lower than expected. ECI could achieve other efficiencies, he said, because of its work on Fayetteville Elementary and its established relationship with the district.

Gordy will actually cost about $5 per square foot less to build than Fayetteville, according to district figures.

"Do they build high schools?" board member David Sciamanna asked. The district plans to advertise for bids this fall to renovate and expand Chambersburg Area Senior High School, a project expected to cost in the neighborhood of $70 million.

The existing Gordy Elementary, with a capacity of 175 students, will be closed and demolished at the end of this school year. The new school at the same Miller street site is expected to open in January 2009.

Superintendent Joseph Padasak said last week the Gordy students will likely attend the new Fayetteville school for the next year and a half.

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