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Memorial Field Renovation Plans Approved, Bidding to Be Delayed

by on March 13, 2018 12:35 PM

State College Area School Board voted on Monday to approve final design documents for the final phase of Memorial Field renovations, but will delay putting the project out for bidding likely until the fall.

The project -- which will include new locker rooms, restrooms, pedestrian plazas, home-side seating and concessions -- was originally expected to be put out for bid in April with bids awarded in May. Some work would have begun in the summer and paused in the fall, with construction resuming in December, pausing again in fall 2019 and finishing in the spring of 2020. 

Bidding now will be delayed at least six months. During a discussion of the project at the board's Feb. 12 meeting, administrators recommended the delay because of the multiple major construction projects already under way.

Though the new State High building opened in January, two phases remain for the project with major work still to take place on the north and south campus before completion in the summer of 2019.  Work also recently began on renovations and new construction at Corl Street and Radio Park elementary schools and the construction of a new school -- Spring Creek Elementary -- which will merge Houserville and Lemont elementary schools at the Houserville site.

Superintendent Bob O'Donnell said on Monday that the district doesn't have the staffing capacity to add Memorial Field to the mix right now.

“We feel like going to bid right now would be overwhelming,” he said.

Board members, however, voted to approve the final design documents while they are still fresh in their minds. Director of Physical Plant Ed Poprik also said the approval will help move code discussions forward.

Finance and Operations Officer Randy Brown said at the Feb. 12 meeting that the delay would also allow time for additional fundraising, which in turn could free up resources for other athletic needs in the district.

Board member Scott Fozard added on Monday that having final approved plans may help with that fundraising.

“It’s much easier to do that with an approved decision than with a conceptual design,” he said.

Massaro Construction Management Services, which is overseeing the project, estimates an overall project cost of $10.4 million based on the mid-point of expected bids and a potential 3 percent annual cost for a delay. Architectural firm Weber Murphy Fox estimated a low base bid of $9.3 million.

Board members said they want to establish a specific timetable for bidding so that the project doesn't lose momentum.



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at geoff.rushton@statecollege.com or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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