School construction costs lower than expected

December 22, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - The construction costs for a renovated and expanded Chambersburg Area Senior High School would come in slightly less than estimated based on a list of contracts awarded by the Chambersburg School Board.

The qualified low bids awarded Wednesday totaled a little more than $62.6 million with a long list of alternates included. The estimated cost had been about $700,000 higher, according to district figures.

Douglas Rohrbaugh of the architectural firm Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates said the median cost of a new high school in Pennsylvania last year was about $179 per square foot. The high school project will come in at $113 per square foot, although the 312,000 square feet of new building space will cost $129.39 each, he said.

The general contract for $41.8 million will go to Nello Construction, GITO Inc. of Canonsburg, Pa. Ellsworth Electric of Chambersburg will get the $7.9 million electrical contract.


The other contracts for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, plumbing, fire protection and asbestos removal totaled another $12.3 million, according to bid figures. Final acceptance of the bids is pending a review by the district solicitor and approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

A $2.4 million contingency fund is built into the project, along with about $1.5 million for furnishings and equipment, according to district officials.

Construction on the school, which will more than double in size once it is completed, will begin in the spring. The project is expected to be completed in 2011, after which the district will begin work to convert Chambersburg Area Middle School and Faust Junior High School into middle schools for grades six through eight.

Ninth-grade students who now attend Faust will go to the high school once it is completed.

Assistant High School Principal Kurt Widmann went over a list of alternate bids he recommended the board accept, including nearly $2.5 million for quartz tiles instead of vinyl composite tile. Widmann said it lasts longer and requires little maintenance compared to the vinyl tile, which requires regular cleaning and wears faster.

Other alternatives included $550,000 to replace the parking lot south of McKinley Street; $195,000 for a new fence, replacing the chain-link fence along McKinley Street and Stanley Court; doubling the size of the greenhouse to 2,000 square feet for an extra $89,000; and an additional 500 lockers for $65,000.

Not recommended was adopting an accelerated construction schedule because of possible school disruptions that a shorter project duration could cause.

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