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.”