After a lengthy discussion, Tyrone Area School Board members Tuesday evening voted in favor to award contractors’ bids totaling $898,126 for renovations to the field house, a decades old building used by district sports teams.
Superintendent Leslie Estep said that the project will cover everything that needs to be addressed at the buiding, which has been in need of multiple updates for years.
Among the renovations, the building plan includes a more usable space, with laundry facilities, public restrooms, a new bathroom, new showers, a reshingled roof and new flooring.
Director of Facilities Jordan Good said, “Architecturally there’s nothing fancy... It’s a very sturdy design, but there’s nothing there that’s fancy. It’s something that’s going to last, it’s durable.”
Board members voted to move ahead with the proposed project eight to one, with board member Jeff Long, owner of Jeff S. Long Construction, opposed.
Before the vote, Long said that the cost, in his opinion, was far too high for a concrete block, painted building. Long said, “It’s a bad design. It’s a lot of wasted money in the design and I’m not happy with it.”
Long voiced concern with the building capacity (estimated at 80 people) and asked why that number wasn’t set at 50, saving costs. He said if he had seen the design before it was finalized, he would have suggested a lot of changes, possibly trimming the cost by 20-30%.
Superintendent Leslie Estep, however, warned that there could be a problem if something would happen and the building was found to be over capacity.
Speaking in favor of the renovations, board member Jim Raabe expressed concern that the district would keep pushing it off. “We’ve been pushing it off for the past six years,” Raabe said.
Funding for the project, in part, comes from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund), which was established as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These funds must be used by Sept. 2024, prompting board member Gunter Volders to calculate that delaying too long, the district may lose the ESSER funds and negate any savings Long could negotiate.
Business Administrator Faith Swanson pointed out that in comparison to other bids, JC Orr’s bid was “incredibly reasonable. I don’t know that we’ll get much better than this in a year or two years.
Swanson added, “The prices are not likely to go down between now and next year if we would bid it again next year. I don’t think you want to bid is during the time that football is going to use it. The question is, is this a reasonable offer during this time.
Estep, alluding to the record of conservative budgeting in the district, said, “None of us have a mindset that we should spend it because we have it.”
In the close to $900k expenditure, individual bids approved included $513.741 to JC Orr and Son for the general construction base bid; $1,400 to JC Orr and Son for the general construction alternate bid; $147,000 to Allied Mechanical & Electrical for HVAC; $177,000 to Allied Mechanical & Electrical for plumbing; and $58,985 to Schultheis Electric for electrical.
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