Windows Latest of Pottsgrove Schools’ Capital Projects

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Installation of replacement windows in the atrium of West Pottsgrove Elementary School is the latest of several capital projects, with a combined value of more than $486,000, that were approved during the past 15 days by the Pottsgrove School District board of directors.

Work on projects in Pennypacker Stadium and Falcon Field; and for the windows, new kitchen-related equipment, playground renovation, landscape drainage improvements, and parking lot fixes, all at West Pottsgrove, are scheduled to begin in future months. The proposals were earlier planned, budgeted, and vetted by the board Operations and Facilities Committee.

Pottsgrove administrators also identified three new needs: the purchase a Grounds Department utility vehicle, and addressing problems at two other athletic fields.

Prices of some projects have climbed since they were suggested, however, so the district – also with board approval – is re-allocating money that was either saved on earlier purchases, or not spent at all, to help cover the cost difference.

In the West Pottsgrove atrium

The Board of School Directors unanimously agreed during its Tuesday (Oct. 11, 2022) meeting to pay $47,214 to replace deteriorating windows in the elementary school atrium. The project has been on the district to-do list since 2019 but was pushed back as Pottsgrove, like schools everywhere, dealt with the coronavirus pandemic.

Construction prices have soared in the three years that followed. In 2019 the cost of the window work was budgeted at $35,000, the district reported. The bid submitted by Partitions Contracting, the only firm offering to do the job, came in $12,214 or 34.8 percent higher than anticipated.

For West Pottsgrove food storage

Singer Equipment Company won a district contract, accepted by the school board during its Sept. 27 meeting, to buy and install a new walk-in combination refrigerator-freezer at West Pottsgrove at a cost of $49,260. Singer was the sole bidder.

Pumping up sports volume at Pottsgrove High

If you’ve attended varsity or junior varsity sporting events at Pottsgrove High School’s Pennypacker Field or its newer Falcon Field, and couldn’t quite hear what an announcer was saying, athletes and coaches alike suggest your hearing’s not the problem. It’s the public speaker systems at both that are considered inadequate for their needs, the district agrees.

At the Sept. 27 meeting, board members authorized paying a company called Audio Video Concepts to furnish and install new sound systems at Pennypacker and Falcon fields. The work at the stadium was awarded for a bid of $21,926; and at Falcon Field for $36,541, representing a combined cost of $58,468.

Renovating West Pottsgrove’s playground

Three major items are included in the playground plans: adding rubberized safety matting to address drainage issues and accessibility for students with disabilities; accompanying drainage system improvements to surrounding playground landscape; and milling and paving the playground parking lot. When first considered, the total cost was estimated at $261,000.

Delays in solving the playground problems earlier created additional deterioration over a larger parking lot area, and inflation has simultaneously boosted wage and material costs. The latest quote for the playground and landscaping effort is $256,293 alone. The paving costs are estimated an another $75,000, for a total of $331,293, the administration told directors on Sept. 27.

Capital project re-allocations

The district has reminded board members it saved money on under-budget costs of:

  • The Pennypacker and Falcon fields’ sound systems;
  • West Pottsgrove’s refrigerator-freezer; and
  • A golf cart bought for the Athletics Department.

It also reduced other planned capital costs by:

  • Swapping out the $68,000 replacement cost of a dump truck, no longer a priority, for a less-expensive backhoe tractor; and
  • Dropping plans for a COVID-era proposal to install fencing along School Lane, which was hoped would control parking near the athletic fields there.

The combined budget savings and suggested re-allocation of funding from abandoned projects allow Pottsgrove to make the increased-cost playground improvements at West, buy the grounds crew utility vehicle, correct drainage issues at the junior varsity baseball field just west of Ringing Rocks Elementary, and solve a different issue at the varsity baseball field at the high school, all without asking for more money.

The re-allocations were board-approved Sept. 27, ensuring bills for the changed set of projects get paid.

Photo by The Post