‘Old bud­get’ leads to ris­ing costs for Good­noe ren­o­va­tion

The Advance of Bucks County - - NEWTOWN AREA - By Cary Beavers

NEW­TOWN TOWN­SHIP - Good­noe Ele­men­tary School is due for a facelift in the coming months and it ap­pears it will be more ex­pen­sive than orig­i­nally thought.

Doug Tay­lor, Coun­cil Rock’s Su­per­vi­sor of Op­er­a­tional Ser­vices, up­dated the school board on the project on gan. 1T, and said the project’s to­tal cost will be about $5.5 mil­lion more than orig­i­nally thought.

“It was an old bud­get and some of the scope of the in­fra­struc­ture wasn’t what we orig­i­nally planned for,” Tay­lor said, adding that he has been work­ing closely with the con­ser­va­tion district, Bucks County and New­town Town­ship in putting to­gether the best pos­si­ble plan for the school.

Tay­lor said the bud­get wDS fiRSW SRHSDRHG DERuW four years ago, and that bud­get was based on a fea­si­bil­ity study done on district cap­i­tal im­prove­ment projects that was fiNLSKHG DERuW SL[ yHDRS ago. Tay­lor ap­peared at an Act 34 hear­ing last Fe­bru­ary, which is re­quired by law for new con­struc­tion and sub­stan­tial ad­di­tions to ex­ist­ing build­ings.

At that Act 34 hear­ing, Tay­lor pre­sented a con­struc­tion cost for Good­noe Ele­men­tary of $10.6 mil­lion and a to­tal project cost of $13.1 mil­lion. About a month af­ter that hear­ing, Tay­lor said, they re­ceived bids for the Hol­land Ele­men­tary project, which caused them to put the tem­po­rary brakes on the Good­noe project.

“When we saw [the Hol­land bids] we thought that some­thing must’ve hap­pened to the bid cli­mate,” Tay­lor said. “We re­ceived num­bers for [con­struc­tion at] Hol­land Ele­men­tary and rec­og­nized that the cost as­so­ci­ated with Good­noe were no longer vi­able. We de­cided to take a step back and take a look be­fore go­ing for­ward with any more PlanCon (Plan­ning and Con­struc­tion) projects. We had to ree­val­u­ate project costs for Good­noe.” Much of the work at the two schools is sim­i­lar.

Tay­lor re-eval­u­ated the project and com­pared it to work done at Churchville Ele­men­tary, work be­ing done at Hol­land and work that needs to be done at Good­noe. At the gan. 1T pub­lic in­for­ma­tion hear­ing, Tay­lor told the board the con­struc­tion costs had risen to $13.1 mil­lion and the to­tal project would now cost $18.6 mil­lion.

Part of the project was the re­place­ment of the school’s roof. Hur­ri­cane Sandy ex­pe­dited a por­tion of that bul­let point when it tore off half of the roof. Be­cause the dam­aged area needed to EH fi[HG LPPHGLDWHOy, the district will now be able to re­coup in­surance money for the roof, slic­ing about $400,000 off the project.

The gen­eral goal of the project is to keep “par­ity” in the schools, ac­cord­ing to Tay­lor. To­ward that end, much of the im­prove­ment will be sim­i­lar or equal to what’s been done at other district schools, in­clud­ing ADA im­prove­ments, a new en­trance vestibule and more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly light­ing and elec­tric sys­tems.

The school, built in the 1960s, had an ad­di­tion in the 1980s. The ad­di­tion will be get­ting a facelift, but not to the ex­tent of the changes made to the 1960s por­tion of the school, Tay­lor said.

“The 1980s por­tion is get­ting me­chan­i­cal, elec­tri­cal and plumb­ing work and some paint­ing,” Tay­lor said. “The 1960s por­tion is get­ting a to­tal ren­o­va­tion.”

Tay­lor said he hopes to have the project started by “May or gune” but a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion with New­town Town­ship over the wi­den­ing of Frost iane, where the school is lo­cated, still needs to be re­solved. Ac­cord­ing WR 7DyORR, D WRDI­fiF SWuGy shows the road does not need to be widened as part of the project.

“We need to re­solve this be­fore we can start,” Tay­lor said, adding that other than the Frost iane is­sue, New­town Town­ship has been “tremen­dous to work with.”

If the Frost iane is­sue is not re­solved within the next month or so, Tay­lor said, the project’s start could be pushed back to the fall.

Photo by Cary Beavers

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