After members of the Huntingdon County Career and Technology Center Joint Operating Committee agreed to scale down the plans late last year for the $2.2 million expansion project, bids were approved for the project at the monthly meeting Tuesday evening.

The plan calls for the construction of a 12,500 square foot transportation center to be located at the terminus of Technology Drive in Brady Township.

The original plan included the transportation building and the construction trades building at a cost of approximately $3,017,062, but the monies received, including the USDA loan for $2.2 million and the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant for $1.125 million, would not be in their possession until after the project was complete.

Michael Douglas, HCCTC assistant executive director, said Mid-State Construction was the lowest bidder for general contracting work at a cost of $1,758,736.99 and Allied Mechanical & Electrical had the low bid for electrical work for $496,490.

Douglas further explained that the total bids are over the $2.2 million they have from the RACP grant and the USDA loan; so they plan on paying for the remainder of the project cost, at approximately $55,000, through capital reserve funds.

“The timeline, as of right now, we wouldn’t be able to get into the building until the 2020-21 school year,” said Douglas. “We won’t be able to take possession of the building until December, and it would take the rest of the (next) school year to be in the building.”

Board member Aden Russell expressed concern that building trades instructor Travis Woodward, who has tendered his resignation, won’t be leading students in building classroom and office space in the new building.

“I’m not sure how comfortable I am with having a new instructor doing the work with building the classroom,” he said.

Board member Andrew Ketner noted that whomever they hire to take the position should have qualifications that would allow them to lead students in building.

With a vote of 4-3, board members voted against using Cutters Lawn Grooming for mowing services for the 2019-20 school year at a cost of $375. Board members Shelley Houck, Russell, Michael Brown and Candy Sonnenberg cast no votes.

Maintenance supervisor David Carolus said the aging equipment they have for mowing the property would have to be looked over, and it takes about 20 manhours per week with a 60-inch deck mower, whereas it took Cutters Lawn Grooming employees about 12-15 man hours per week with mowers with 66 to 72-inch mower decks.

“For us, it takes a little bit longer, and when we contracted up, it frees up a lot of time for us to focus on other projects,” he said. “It’s about how you want us to expend our manpower, but the costs aren’t equal when you add up gas money we would spend, along with other things, it would cost us around $550 versus $375 when you lay out all of the numbers.”

Houck asked Carolus what specific projects custodial staff were working on, and Carolus said what they work on from day to day changes, as two staff members, in addition to Carolus, are cleaning and doing maintenance work.

Russell suggested presenting the quotas that were received from all lawn service companies. Additionally, he also suggested that after reviewing the mowing equipment if things aren’t where they should be, they should consider getting bids for a new mower.

They will revisit the matter of contracting the mowing job out or doing it onsite in June, as the current contract with Cutters Lawn Grooming will run out as of July 1.

The board also approved Doug Thomas to lease 8-10 unused acres on the property to mow hay at a cost of $250 a year, per solicitor review and approval of the contract.

A preliminary budget for HCCTC was passed. The preliminary budget total for 2019-20 is $2,681,046, which is $2,995 increase from the current fiscal year’s budget.

Two school districts, Mount Union Area and Huntingdon Area school districts, are expected to pay less. HASD will pay $22,032 less than last year at $552,790 and Huntingdon will pay $559,153, which is $16,084 less than what they paid last year.

Southern Huntingdon County and Juniata Valley School districts will pay more, with SHCSD paying $13,534 than last year at $570,720 and JVSD paying $1,625 more at $269,238.

Board members officially approved adding the rehabilitation aide program to the list of course programs at HCCTC for the 2019-20 school year.

Kylie can be reached at khawn@huntingdondailynews.com.

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