‘Old budget’ leads to rising costs for Goodnoe renovation
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.