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Pottsgrove Asks To Pay Contractor Overtime

Contractor employees are rushing to complete renovation work at Pottsgrove High School before the Sept. 8 scheduled start of classes

POTTSTOWN PA – Members of the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors were expected to meet this morning (Friday, Aug. 21, 2015) at 8 a.m. in the district offices, 1301 Kauffman Rd., to act on an administration request to authorize additional overtime for contractors to speed up reconstruction of Pottsgrove High School.

They’ve fallen behind on completing their summer work, Superintendent Shellie Feola acknowledged in a widely-distributed Thursday night (Aug. 20) e-mail, because of what she called “unforeseen conditions.”

The potential for delay could disrupt the Sept. 8 (Tuesday) start of classes at Pottsgrove High, she said, but would not affect the district’s four other schools: Pottsgrove Middle, and Lower Pottsgrove, Ringing Rocks, and West Pottsgrove elementaries. Currently, the superintendent said, the district “still anticipate(s) opening all schools on time.”

Feola attributed the construction lag to “lead remediation in the cafeteria area, asbestos removal due to adhesive behind old chalkboards, and hole-patching resulting from the asbestos removal. Due to these unforeseen delays, we have determined that the general contractor is going to require additional overtime work,” she wrote.

Her e-mail did not specify or estimate the added cost to be incurred. Feola sought to assure parents and taxpayers, however, that “this expense is well within our contingency fund allotment and, aside from the unforeseen conditions, we feel we are making great progress on this project.”

With the scheduled start of the 2015-2016 academic year only 19 days away, Feola’s Thursday e-mail promised the public would be informed of developments. “As we get closer to the opening of the school building … we will keep you posted,” she wrote.

The need to spend additional money for overtime, although already budgeted, is likely to concern some school directors. During the board’s Aug. 11 meeting, they specifically asked if the high school project was “on track.” At the time, Feola said she did not “foresee any conditions that would not allow us to start on time.”

She recognized, however, that changes in the high school library may not be completed until mid-September, slightly later than hoped, and contractors might be “finishing off other items as we open school.”

The superintendent had good news during the Aug. 11 session on other portions of the high school renovation. The “100” and “200” wings of classrooms were ready for occupancy, she said; the new gymnasium was being “trimmed out” and was nearly complete, necessary sidewalks were being installed, and a new lobby entrance was making headway. The installation of lockers was finished in several corridors.

Not everything was rosy. Feola said she was distressed by rain water leaks that had shown up in an already completed choral practice room, despite earlier efforts by district construction supervisor D’Huy Engineering to point out alleged roofing problems to the general contractor. The leaks imperiled but did not damage computers in the room, but did create some water damage to its walls, she said.

Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ Aug. 11 meeting):

Photo from the Pottsgrove School District

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