School board awards Gilpin Manor pro­ject con­tract



— The Ce­cil County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion has awarded the $19.2 mil­lion con­tract to build the new Gilpin Manor El­e­men­tary School to the same com­pany that re­cently ren­o­vated the Ce­cil County School of Tech­nol­ogy.

The school board voted unan­i­mously on Mon­day night to award a $19,224,523 con­tract to Mul­lan Con­tract­ing Com­pany, based in Lutherville. Of the to­tal con­tract, the state will pay 63 per­cent of the el­i­gi­ble costs and the rest will come from local funds, said Perry Wil­lis, CCPS ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of support ser­vices.

In 2014, Mul­lan won a $7.9 mil­lion con­tract to ren-


ovate the CCST build­ing on Ap­ple­ton Road, which was com­pleted this past Au­gust.

Mul­lan’s bid to build a re­place­ment for the 64-yearold school on Ne­wark Av­enue was the low­est of the six bids CCPS re­ceived, though all of the bids were within $2 to 3 mil­lion of each other. None of the bid­ders were from Ce­cil County, Wil­lis said.

Con­struc­tion on the new school is ex­pected to start on Sept. 16 and fin­ish by De­cem­ber 2018.

“This is our first new build­ing in Ce­cil County since 1991,” Wil­lis said. “For us to be able to con­struct a build­ing from the ground up — we can’t be more ex­cited about it.”

Wil­lis also noted that the new 65,837-square-foot build­ing will cost roughly $289 per square foot, far be­low the state stan­dard of $335 per square foot. CCPS is ex­cited to be work­ing with Mul­lan on an­other pro­ject and has al­ready be­gun talk­ing to the com­pany about co­or­di­nat­ing lo­gis­tics for the con­struc­tion site, Wil­lis said.

The new two-story Gilpin Manor will be built be­tween the cur­rent school and the Elk­ton Cen­tral Li­brary, on land that is cur­rently used for ath­letic fields. The old Gilpin Manor, which was built in 1948, will even­tu­ally be torn down to make way for new ath­letic fields.

The de­sign also in­cludes about 100 park­ing spots for the Elk­ton Cen­tral Li­brary to use in over­flow sit­u­a­tions. A path will even­tu­ally stretch from the li- brary, past Gilpin Manor and down to Elk­ton Mid­dle School, cre­at­ing a cam­pus area along Ne­wark Av­enue.

But this setup will likely make for some tricky lo­gis­tics once con­struc­tion starts. CCPS and its ar­chi­tec­ture firm, Stu­dioJAED, de­cided to keep the same three en­trances off Ne­wark Av­enue for the new school so the state wouldn’t need to be in­volved in any road changes.

That also means that the new school will need to be built just 24 feet from the old school though. Fur­ther com­pli­cat­ing mat­ters is that the Elk­ton Cen­tral Li­brary is cur­rently un­der­go­ing ma­jor ren­o­va­tions to its park­ing lot and board mem­ber Lau­ren Cam­phausen ex­pressed con­cerns about con­ges­tion along that stretch of Ne­wark Av­enue.

“Will it be con­gested? Yes, it’s a con­struc­tion site but they (Mul­lan) know it’s a school first,” Wil­lis said.

Wil­lis and his team have al­ready be­gun meet­ing with Gilpin Manor staff to co­or­di­nate bus loops and par­ent drop-off loops. A small, tem­po­rary road will also be added in front of the school to help traf­fic move more eas­ily, he added. And with con­struc­tion on the li­brary park­ing lot ex­pected to fin­ish by Oc­to­ber, Wil­lis said he doesn’t see that as be­ing a ma­jor is­sue.

He fur­ther noted that in most cases, con­struc­tion ve­hi­cles will be at the site before the school buses get there in the morn­ing and will leave ei­ther before or after the buses re­turn in the after­noon.

The con­struc­tion will not af­fect the play­ing fields ei­ther, Wil­lis said. In ad­di­tion, as part of the pro­ject, the base­ball field there will be moved back to the high school be­cause it was caus­ing too many prob­lems with its close prox­im­ity to nearby houses, he added.

Work­ing with Mul­lan on the pro­ject will make the whole process eas­ier, Wil­lis said, since they al­ready have a good work­ing re­la­tion­ship with the com­pany.

“They’re ex­cited about be­ing back with us,” Wil­lis said. “We think we have a great re­la­tion­ship with them, we have a great re­la­tion­ship with the town and mov­ing forward we be­lieve the com­mu­nity will be pleased with the fi­nal out­come.”

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