Jersey Shore schools to rebid construction project

JERSEY SHORE – As the Jersey Shore Area School District was set to move forward with a construction and renovation project at its borough elementary school, it was informed that adjustments were needed in order to get under budget.

“It’s obviously very unfortunate,” said Brian Haines, of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates. ” … We will have to adjust.”

Haines informed the school board at its Monday meeting that bids came in about $1.3 million over budget – which recently was increased by about $1.4 million.

Haines explained that there were some market adjustments that weren’t accounted for. He added that the “main culprits” of a higher-than- expected budget were the general construction and HVAC contracts.

In order to get under budget, Haines said they would “adjust aspects of the design,” but not the overall scope of the project. One suggestion was lowering the gymnasium addition by about four feet, which would not make it state Interscholastic Athletic Association approved. Haines said it shouldn’t matter since the district wasn’t planning on using it for competition.

Board member Robert Pryor asked Haines if the district had missed its “window of opportunity,” for lower bids. Haines said the district could have received lower bids if it did it last year.

Board member Harry Brungard asked if it would be possible to cut an addition, which would create four new classrooms, out of the project.

Haines believes there’s a “legitimate” need for the classrooms, but the move would bring the project under budget. Pryor said since the district already has paid the architect for designing the additions, it would be a waste of tax payers’ money by now cutting it out.

Haines said by rebidding aspects of the construction and changing parts of the project, it would bring it within the district’s budget.

Beth Miller, of Watson Township, asked the district to not put any additions on the school and only do renovations.

Haines added that since there weren’t drastic changes to the design, it would not require an Act 34 hearing.

When asked by the public what it should expect with taxes if the project wasn’t reimbursed by the state, Pryor said after speaking with the offices of state officials, he expects the funding.

Business Manager Adrienne Craig added that the district could use its capital reserve fund to pay off the project.