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Low bids for Spring Mills school to help fund new middle school

July 16, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The first round of bids for the construction of Spring Mills High School was low enough to allow the West Virginia School Building Authority to completely fulfill Berkeley County's request for state funding to help build a new middle school near Gerrardstown, W.Va., officials said Friday.

The SBA on June 27 approved the allocation of $3.5 million from the agency's construction fund for the new middle school, increasing the SBA grant to $13,515,283, according to Mark A. Manchin, the SBA's executive director.

The SBA in April had awarded about $10 million for the Gerrardstown project, but Manchin said Friday the agency was unable to fully fund Berkeley County's request from the $70 million that was then available for new school construction statewide.  

Concerned that the state expected the county to cover the $3.5 million difference, Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny P. Arvon II asked Manchin in June to consider reducing the agency's award for the high school project from $24.9 million to $21.5 million after the bid results for construction proved to be favorable.

With the SBA approvals now in hand, an amendment to reduce the SBA grant contract for the high school project is scheduled to be considered Monday night by the Berkeley County Board of Education, Arvon said.

"The bids are coming in right now as well as they've ever been," Manchin said Friday.

In May, the Berkeley County school board awarded six construction contracts totaling $31,450,156 for construction of the county's fourth public high school at the Spring Mills educational campus near the intersection of U.S. 11 and W.Va. 901.  

Due to the 24-month construction schedule for the 224,686-square-foot building, additional contracts for the new school's athletic facilities, equipment and furnishings, and paving work will not be bid until next year, Arvon said.

The high school project originally was projected to cost about $50 million, said Arvon, who noted the savings could allow for possible upgrades to such items as flooring in the building.

The $31.4 million in high school construction bids awarded in May included a $17,829,379 general trade contract to Dustin Construction of Ijamsville, Md., according to a bid award document Arvon released Friday.

Other bids awarded in May included:

  • $4.745 million for HVAC work to R.H. Lapp & Sons in Cumberland, Md.
  • $2.496 million for plumbing work to W.G. Tomko & Sons in Finleyville, Pa.
  • $5.64 million for electrical work to W. Harley Miller Contractors in Martinsburg.
  • $395,000 for fire suppression to Brewer & Company of West Virginia in Martinsburg
  • $344,777 for food-service equipment to C&T Design and Equipment in Elkview, W.Va.

In November, the school board awarded a $2.2 million contract for site work to Bear Construction LLC in Bridgeport, W.Va.

Arvon said the bids awarded thus far do not include contingency and other soft costs.

The high school is on track to open in 2013, and Arvon said he hopes the new middle school in southern Berkeley County will be ready for students by August 2014 as part of a plan to ease severe overcrowding at Musselman Middle School.  

The county committed $8 million in local funding for the middle-school project. That money is being generated through a 2009 voter-approved $51.5 million school-bond issue.

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