CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield Area School District Board of Directors has decided to hold off awarding the construction contracts for the renovation and expansion of the Clearfield Elementary School.
At Monday night’s meeting, the board voted to approve rebidding the electrical contract for the CES project, which came in much higher than expected. As a result, it’s put the other contracts on hold until the new electrical contracts can be reviewed.
According to a previous GantDaily.com report, Architect J. Greer Hayden of HHSDR Architects/Engineers of Sharon reviewed the low bids and alternatives for the CES construction contracts at last week’s committee meetings. He said the five bid packages included roofing, heating, plumbing, electrical and food services. At that time, he suggested the board consider rejecting the bids for the electrical contract, which came in $600,000 higher than the original estimated cost of $1.2 million.
Hayden said the board could re-open new electrical bids by May 20, which would push back the timeline for finishing the construction projects by approximately 10 days. However, he said it could end up being well worth the savings in new electrical bids. He said the current bids could be kept for 60 days, which allows the board to rebid the electrical contracts. Hayden said construction is expected to begin June 17 at the CES.
So far as the other contracts, Hayden recommended last week that the board accept the low bidders. He explained that the board would have problems with PlanCon though if it would accept these other bids now and the electrical bid later.
During the public comment session, resident Gail Ralston requested the board consider the playground facilities that currently exist at the CES for 1,160 students in 2013-14.
Approximately 16 months from now, Ralston said the CES will be accommodating two classrooms each for autistic support, life skills and emotional support special needs, as well as a sensory room and an unspecified special education classroom. She said it will also house 24 first-floor and 28 second-floor regular education classrooms.
“All of these children will be using this outdoor play area unless you make the needed changes,” she said. She said the CES currently has one baseball backstop and field, two basketball hoops, one paved semi-circle, one kindergarten/first-grade play station and three animal spring seats for kindergarten/first-grade students.
According to her, Clearfield Borough provides several play stations, swings, slides, a jungle gym and merry-go-round at its Witmer Park. She said Lawrence Township has a new facility that includes soccer, baseball and football fields, and the Bigler YMCA provides its community with a sports complex.
“These venues provide services for the residents, but the school that all of our elementary children will attend is lacking in these services,” said Ralston. She also didn’t believe the current CES play area would provide for the children who have mobility issues. “. . . Our playgrounds are exclusive rather than inclusive for groups of our children.
“Playground equipment for disabled children should also be inclusive. It should have areas where socialization can take place between normal functioning children and those with special needs. Right now, the CEs does not have these facilities, and we need to change this. We are stressing academic components for our students, but we should not neglect their physical, social and emotional needs. A playground compliments and contributes to their educational environment.”
Ralston said the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act mandates that playgrounds be accessible. She said the district has children who are in wheelchairs and who have other mobility issues. She said it also has students with special sensory needs. Ralston said the district’s entire student population is comprised of children who all can benefit from a playground that is inclusive for children to play together.
Board member Jennifer Wallace asked if the existing playground equipment could be relocated from the Bradford Township, Centre and Girard-Goshen Elementary Schools to the CES. Rick Bunning, director of buildings and grounds, said the play equipment was in poor condition at Bradford Township and Centre Elementary Schools. Bunning said they would be considering playground plans with Hayden as part of the ongoing CES project.