The State College Area school board on Monday approved the 60 percent design plans for Corl Street, Houserville and Radio Park Elementary schools.
The vote during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting came after a mandatory Act 34 hearing about the construction projects. Act 34 was implemented in 1973 by the state as a way for public schools to discuss in an open hearing any substantial construction projects.
Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates, an architectural firm from Mechanicsburg, provided the board with the lowest cost estimate for the three projects, which include renovations and new construction at each school. The estimated project costs have risen since the board was presented with and approved in February the 30 percent design plans.
“The district did an independent soft cost analysis,” Ed Poprik, director of physical plant, said. “We saw a large uptick in the soft cost expense, which is driving a lot of the movement upward between the 30 and 60 percent plans.”
Soft cost estimates provide a contingency budget for aspects of the construction process that are unexpected and can lead to change orders that deviate from the original contract.
The Corl Street progect is estimated to cost about $17.4 million, an increase of about $1.5 million; Houserville is estimated to cost about $20.6 million, an increase of about $400,000; and Radio Park is estimated to cost about $22.5 million, an increase of about $1.5 million.
“We know we have some work ahead of us,” Poprik said. “I think we are in a position to bring in the cost figures a little better at 90 percent and hopefully a little better at bidding.”
Upon completion of the projects, the district hopes to receive about $1.2 million per building as part of the state’s PlanCon school construction reimbursement program, according to a district press release. The three schools are being designed for certification with the U.S. Green Building Council, which could result in additional reimbursements.
The board is scheduled to vote on the 90 percent plans on Aug. 28, and construction awards will be announced in November. The district expects work to begin in January 2018 and be completed in the summer of 2019.