Mars Area Middle School renovations are ‘on schedule’

August 7, 2019 Cranberry Local News

ADAMS TWP — The Mars Area School Board was updated on middle school renovations at Tuesday's meeting.

“We're on schedule,” Thomas & Williamson General Construction Manager John Hays said. “We're on budget as always.”

Hays also asked the board to approve several change orders that increase the district's contingency.

The first order was to repair a collapsing wall in the elementary school for $27,975. The board has been aware of the issue, but was unable to find an acceptable contractor during the bid process. Hays was asked to do the project in addition to the middle school work.

Two changes Hays asked for resulted in a combined $90,063 deduction for work on walls, doorways and the roof. New code, Hays said, has made processes for fire-rated doors and walls and finishing the roof easier.

“It's actually less costly,” Hays said.

The deduction of the roofing materials alone would be about $301,000, according to Hays. However, tying the existing walls into the roof is about $215,000, leaving a net deduction of $86,363. The fire-rated walls and doors will result in a $3,700 deduction.

Hays asked the board to approve an additional $1,845 to install more bulkheads in the cafeteria. The architect has recommended that the bulkheads be extended beyond duct work to create a uniform look.

The board unanimously approved the change orders.

Finishing the gym floor will lag behind about two weeks due to scheduling. The family consumer science, art and robotics rooms will also take longer to complete because they're bigger. The kitchen will be finished for students by the time students return, and Hays said he expects positive reactions to the cafeteria.

“I think everybody will like it,” Hays said. “The kids will like it, that's for sure.”

Among the things that still need to be done are milling the parking lot, tiling floor and finishing the roof.

“We missed a lot of days because of rain,” Hays said. “I have guys right now who are working between 70 and 82 hours a week on this project.”

Hays said the project site has 103 laborers working every day.

Board President Dayle Ferguson clarified that students will be able to return to school in September, but construction won't be complete.

“It will not be done,” Ferguson said. “It will be exactly where it needs to be.”

Ferguson reassured the public that the building will be safe for students. Hays said workers will be focusing on a group of five classrooms at a time when students return, with an estimated 22 days allotted for each group. Lockers will be ready for students.

The board will tour the project site next week.