Moving Ahead

After some delays, the Warren County School District is once again moving toward breaking ground for renovations and an elementary school addition at Eisenhower Middle High School as the district seeks to convert it into a K-12 facility.

Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht, district director of buildings and grounds, told the school board’s Physical Plant and Facilities Committee at Monday evening’s meeting that bids have been received from 57 contractors for the project, as well as 42 alternates.

Paperwork associated with that many bids means a lot of work. “Sorting out the information has taken a little bit of time,” he said.

Kennerknecht said that the district is familiar with some of the contractors who submitted bids, but is currently in the process of reviewing all contractor qualifications to “ensure they are qualified to do the work and have the financial wherewithal to complete the project.”

Once that process is complete, the district can then ask for the contractor’s insurance to be reviewed and evaluated.

With the wealth of information, Kennerknecht said the district has met with the architectural firm and Solicitor Chris Byham to ensure that all the proper processes are being followed.

Several steps in the PlanCon process the process by which the state reimburses school construction projects were also introduced to the committee.

PlanCon Part F, attachment C, is concerned with post-bid opening certification. “We have to have the above information (bids) to fill that out in two weeks,” Kennerknecht said.

PlanCon Part G, which lists the construction bids as well as a project’s eligibility for reimbursement, as well as PlanCon H, which addresses financing used for a project and signifies the start of reimbursement, were also presented. He explained that the state is currently collecting Part H forms from school districts across the state and will start reimbursement once funds are available.

“They will be addressed as they were received,” he said. “They have a big stack right now and they’re working their way down.”

Permitting issues forced the district to extend the bid period.

“We don’t have (the) building permit,” Kennerknecht said during the committee’s December meeting. “(We) also don’t have two DEP (Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection) permits.”

As a result of tabling action on the bids, Kennerknecht proposed that the bid period, which was originally scheduled to close last month, be extended until Jan. 22.

All three PlanCon submissions were forwarded by the committee to the full board for action at its Feb. 11 meeting.

“We’re trying to proceed in the most expeditious and precise manner that we can without any stumbling blocks,” Kennerknecht added.