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Contractors Heed ‘Grove Renovation Lessons

Jim Hanna of D’Huy Engineering, right, talks with Pottsgrove Business Administrator David Nester before the start of Tuesday’s school board meeting

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Renovation lessons contractors learned during the past 12 months, often to their disappointment, on what to avoid in re-building Pottsgrove High School are unlikely to be repeated in the coming 12, the project’s supervisor told members of the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors Tuesday (Jan. 26, 2016).

Jim Hanna of D’Huy Engineering, the Bethlehem PA firm hired by directors to serve as the district’s advocate in the more than $20 million phased renovation, said he, representatives of general contractor E.R. Stuebner Construction Inc., and its subcontractors have now all “focused on the things we knew we’ve had to deal with before” to minimize class disruptions as the work proceeds.

Hanna reported construction crews:

  • Will no longer operate a hot roofing tar kettle during school hours. There were instances last year in which classes were emptied because the foul-smelling, bubbling tar made air difficult to breathe;
  • Have changed completion dates for certain renovations of the building, its new additions, and the landscaping and parking areas at 1345 Kauffman Rd. The alterations will “alleviate an earlier hectic schedule and help us keep an more even pace until we’re finished,” Hanna claimed. This September’s school opening was delayed by about a week because work had not ended on time; and
  • Expect to determine far earlier if overtime work will be required because of unanticipated problems. The project incurred additional costs in late summer as the district paid overtime rates for sections of the building to be ready for occupancy.

Despite the miscues, Hanna said the renovation continues to be on time and required spending so far of only 13 percent of its more than $1 million contingency budget for unforeseen expenses. Total change orders for the project to date amounted to about $581,000, he noted, and added “for a project of this scope that’s not bad.”

Hanna said he anticipates the school’s completed social studies rooms will be turned over to the administration during February; the guidance office expansion, renovations to the former gym, and locker rooms by March; and other classrooms and the principal’s offices by the end of the summer.

Work has yet to begin on the installation of a new turf field, and renovation to the auditorium.

Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ Jan. 26 meeting):

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