District con­tin­ues to ex­plore Pen­nwood Mid­dle School ren­o­va­tion, will so­licit quotes for ar­chi­tec­tural ser­vices

The Advance of Bucks County - - YARDLEY-MORRISVILLE AREA - By Petra Ch­es­ner Sch­lat­ter

PENNSBURv - The school board has di­rected the ad­min­is­tra­tion to is­sue a Re­quest for nuotes (RFn) from ar­chi­tects for their pro­fes­sional ser­vices on a po­ten­tial ren­o­va­tion project at the Pen­nwood jid­dle School.

Board pres­i­dent Al­lan Weisel made the mo­tion to seek the quotes, which he deemed an “emer­gent is­sue.

“We have a sense of ur­gency,” he said re­fer­ring to a time­line for a pos­si­ble ren­o­va­tion project, which at the min­i­mum could cost be­tween $20- and $25-mil­lion.

Pen­nwood, built in 1951 as the orig­i­nal Penns­bury High School, is lo­cated on jake­field Road in Lower jake­field Town­ship.

In a re­lated move, the board tabled hir­ing Da­ley + gal­boot Ar­chi­tects to give the board an op­por­tu­nity to seek quotes from other pro­fes­sion­als, said board mem­ber Chris Cridge, who chairs the Fa­cil­i­ties Com­mit­tee.

“He’s been very good,” Cridge said of Da­ley + gal­boot af­ter the meet­ing. “We have no prob­lem with him, but we be­lieve we have an obli­ga­tion to put that out for a quote to ful­fill our obli­ga­tion to the tax­pay­ers who de­pend on us to do the best for them.

“This is an emer­gent is­sue,” Cridge said. “It’s im­por­tant. It’s timely.”

Dur­ing pub­lic com­ment, Robert Abrams of Lower jake­field, pressed the board to be re­spon­si­ble.

“I think we un­der­stand how se­vere the prob­lems are with Pen­nwood,” Abrams said. “Once you ac­cept the project, you need a way to pay for it.” He cau­tioned the board not to bor­row any more money. Weisel re­sponded, “That’s the ques­tion of the moment -- how we’re go­ing to pay for it.

“There are a num­ber of board mem­bers who don’t be­lieve we should be talk­ing to only one [ar­chi­tect],” he said.

Board mem­ber Dr. Stephan hos­morsky was the lone vote against seek­ing quotes.

sot­ing to seek quotes from other ar­chi­tects were: gac­que­line Red­ner, gohn Palmer, hath­leen wawacki, Simon Camp­bell, vice pres­i­dent Gary San­der­son, Gold­berg, Cridge and Weisel.

“I think this project at Pen­nwood is putting a Band-Aid on a ma­jor is­sue,” hos­morsky told the board. He said two of the district’s three mid­dle schools are “fall­ing apart.” hos­morsky said one of them, Charles Boehm jid­dle School, is in the flood plain.

He said fo­cus­ing on just Pen­nwood is “a waste of money … Look at both mid­dle schools.”

An alternative, which was brought up, is to build a new school, com­bin­ing the mid­dle schools into one.

Board mem­ber Howard Gold­berg said, “I un­der­stand a new build­ing would cost $T6 mil­lion.”

Dr. hevin jcHugh, district su­per­in­ten­dent, said the con­struc­tion start date for pos­si­ble ren­o­va­tions to Pen­nwood could be as early as 2014. The project could go to bid in gan­uary or Fe­bru­ary 2014 if the board votes to do the ren­o­va­tions at Pen­nwood.

Cridge said the ren­o­va­tion that needs to be done in­cludes the me­chan­i­cal, elec­tri­cal and heat­ing sys­tems.

“There are prob­lems with leaks,” he added. “There’s just a lot of prob­lems with those func­tions. Take the elec­tri­cal in the class­rooms. They have to run wires across the floors be­cause they don’t have an up­dated sys­tem where they can drop pro­jec­tors from the ceil­ing.”

Cridge said there are win­dows that are not state-of-the-art, which costs the district in en­ergy con­sump­tion.

“There are is­sues be­cause the build­ing is old and it has not been ren­o­vated for quite a num­ber of years,” he said.

“A ren­o­va­tion would cer­tainly be a ben­e­fit, but money’s an is­sue,” he said

Cridge said that Pen­nwood is an “im­por­tant as­set to the district.

“It’s got to be main­tained, but again the is­sue is money -- how much more can we ask tax­pay­ers who are con­tin­u­ing to face higher costs for ev­ery­thing?” “It’s very tough times,” he said. Cridge noted that ren­o­va­tion work on Charles Boehm will take years to com­plete. “That is why we’re ad­dress­ing Pen­nwood first be­cause Charles Boehm is a much more dif­fi­cult project.”

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