‘Grove Considers $108,000 High School ‘Commissioning’

'Grove Considers $108,000 High School 'Commissioning'

The symbol of LEED Gold certification, being sought for Pottsgrove High School

POTTSTOWN PA – Now that the Pottsgrove School District has won the opportunity to earn a $2 million state energy grant to pay for some costs of renovating Pottsgrove High School, it must prove the efficiency improvements it proposes to make – solar panel installations, energy-conserving equipment, and more – actually work as described. That proof takes the form of reams of paperwork and documentation provided by experts.

Assembling and verifying the data that fills those documents is a job called “commissioning.” The district tonight (Tuesday, April 8, 2014) is scheduled to ask its Board of School Directors to hire a Philadelphia-based firm, In Posse, to conduct the commissioning work at an estimated cost of $108,000.

In Posse’s website says it supplies “consulting and engineering design services for high performance, deep green projects” like that anticipated at the high school. KCBA Architects of Hatfield PA, which is heading the renovation project, plans to apply for a gold certification under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards of the U.S. Green Building Council. It’s the second-highest rating the council offers.

Attaining the gold level isn’t easy, KCBA representatives have regularly reminded directors. However, the prospect of attracting $2 million under the Pennsylvania Alternative and Clean Energy program – for which Pottsgrove was accepted late last month – appealed to the board, particularly because the energy-related improvements themselves are estimated to cost about only $1 million.

There’s risk involved. Unless it conclusively demonstrates the LEED gold certification is deserved, Pottsgrove could lose the entire grant. To avoid that and other calamities, directors at their last meeting (March 25) agreed to pay $14,000 to have the architects’ plans reviewed for “constructability” by a third-party firm, D’Huy Engineering Inc. of Bethlehem PA. For similar reasons, the district wants In Posse’s recommended skills for the commissioning.

The $108,000 price tag includes $10,500 earlier approved by the board as part of the district’s grant application process, Technology and Communications Director Michael Wagman said Monday (April 7). “The fee is based on the scope of the project with respect to the number of systems to be analyzed and monitored,” he added.

Still unknown is the full cost of, and extent of changes at, the high school during the project’s coming three years. Board members won’t receive contractors’ bids on the proposed plans, currently estimated at $33 million, until April 17 (Thursday). And they won’t decide on its scope or authorize the expense until a special meeting scheduled for April 28 (Monday).

Included in the request for bids are the addition of classrooms, laboratories, and student and faculty spaces, a variety of technical and security innovations and measures, and the construction of a new gymnasium. The $33 million figure does not include add-on options like improvements to existing athletic fields or the addition of an artificial turf field.

Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ April 8 meeting):

Related (to Pottsgrove High reconstruction):

Photo from Google Images

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