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Spring Mills 'green' school should be ready by 2011

November 03, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - West Virginia's first "green" school - Spring Mills Primary - is expected to be built and occupied by August 2011, Superintendent Manny P. Arvon II told the Berkeley County Board of Education Monday evening.

About $10.5 million in contracts for the project were awarded on Monday by the board.

All of the contracts awarded were the low bids, which were submitted by a total of 34 contractors, according to Arvon and school district engineer Don Zepp.

Warner Construction of Frederick, Md., was chosen as the general (trades) contractor with a bid of $5,367,877. The primary school for 500 students will be built on the Spring Mills campus near the intersection of U.S. 11 and W.Va. 901.

"Very competitive" bidding led to a very favorable outcome for the school district, which had devised some money-saving options in case bids came in too high, according to Arvon and Zepp.

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Zepp said more than 90 bidders attended a pre-bid meeting for the primary school project and he anticipated the new high school and other projects made possible when voters approved a school construction bond issue in September will get favorable bids as well. The Spring Mills High School is projected to be completed in 2012.

The primary school at Spring Mills is expected to be a "prototype" for energy and environment conservation-minded construction for the rest of the state, West Virginia School Building Authority (SBA) Executive Director Mark A. Manchin said in an interview last year.

In 2008, the SBA awarded $10 million for the school and later authorized up to another $1 million so the school could receive certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system.

Arvon told board members on Monday that the school district received a supplemental grant of $533,205 from the SBA for the primary school and that the state was paying for about 88 percent of the cost of the building.

With geothermal technology and other energy conservation technologies, including motion-activated lighting, Arvon said he expects to save a lot in utility costs.

When planning on the project began, high cost projections prompted school officials to develop alternative construction options that subtracted two classrooms and shrank the gymnasium's size, according to Arvon.

But because of the economic conditions and competitive bidding, everything that was removed was put back in, Arvon said.

The contracts awarded on Monday totaled $10,537,549, according to bid recommendations prepared by architect Williamson Shriver Architects Inc. of Charleston, W.Va.

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