The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 24, 2010

Contractors place bids on new elementary school

By Tricia Pursell
The Daily Item

— MIDDLEBURG — A number of contractors were hoping for business in a bad economy on Tuesday afternoon, presenting their bids for a new, proposed, multi-million dollar Middleburg Elementary School.

"With this economy, and the way it is, any job is a blessing," said Scott Hartman, who was representing S.A. Comunale, from the Reading area, and submitting a bid for fire protection construction at the school.

"This is very important," echoed another fire protection contractor representative, Steven Smith, an estimator with Fire-Mak Inc., of Sykesville, Md., as he sat waiting in anticipation with the rest of the contractors for the bids to be opened and read by the district's architect.

It was another day, another job, another dollar for them to hope for.

Scott Snyder, a project manager and estimator with George D. Boyer & Sons Inc., of Harrisburg, said he would take "anything right now, it doesn't matter."

His company is hoping to be awarded the contracts for HVAC and plumbing construction at the new elementary school.

There were several local contractors looking for work, as well, including Zartman Construction, of Northumberland, which presented a bid of nearly $13.6 million for a general construction contract.

Seven general contract bids were opened on Tuesday, and ranged from $13.1 to more than $14.2 million.

On the list were also six bids for HVAC, eight for plumbing, seven for electrical, five for fire protection, and three for food service.

The school board will meet Dec. 6 to award contracts.

"If they do that, it's full steam ahead," said Dr. Wesley Knapp, superintendent.

A groundbreaking would follow soon after.

Originally an estimated $16 million renovation project, a completely new Middleburg Elementary School is in the plans.

"It evolved into a full remodel of the building," Knapp said.

The current school, built in 1954, with a library added in 1976, has failing infrastructure, including a leaky roof that has caused concerns among parents regarding their childrens' health and safety.

Knapp said there is also a need for a bigger building to meet the growing student body.

The elementary school is the most populated school in the district, next to the high school.

Midd-West Business Manager Lynn Naugle said Tuesday that she is unsure how the new school will affect taxpayers in the district until the pricing is reviewed and funding is in place.

The project was included with the high school project in original plans for building renovations and construction.

Naugle said the district is looking to obtain interest-free funding.

The project comes on the heels of a more than $32 million new high school, which is expected to be completed in about 10 months.

The architect for the both projects is Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates, and the contract manager is Quandel Group Inc.