Moon School Board to Address Change Orders, Sewer Issues on District Campus
School board members say no end date is yet available for continuing work on the district's main campus in Moon Township.
The vice president of the Moon Area School Board said remaining change orders on the middle school renovation project will be paid for through a capital reserve fund.
School board member Ron Steele said a contingency fund for change orders on the district’s middle school overhaul was depleted several months ago.
He said the fund was exhausted earlier than expected due to a “bank recording error.”
“So now, quite frankly, we are limited to what we have through our capital reserve fund,” Steele said. “What’s making it difficult for us now is it seems like the change orders are getting more and more expensive.”
The exact cost of overall change orders for the middle school project was not immediately available.
School board members on Monday tabled a motion to move forward with $33,000-worth of work to the renovated campus' driveway, located outside of the high school's administrative offices.
The driveway, which is planned to serve as part of a main entrance for motorists, was not completed to original specifications. Brian Fulkerson, a project manager with the New Castle-based Eckles Architecture, said the work had been accidentally omitted in earlier construction phases.
As an omission, the district is still responsible for funding the work, Fulkerson told board members. Under original plans, crews were expected to install a sidewalk and seating wall in the area, and repave the driveway’s surface.
“(Construction crews) either forgot about it, or didn’t deal with it at the time,” Steele said of the work.
Board members are now expected to reconsider that portion of the campus—possibly eliminating the seating wall from the plans, or implementing other cost-saving measures.
Steele said board members believe that the work is “costing us more than it would have, because it was not bid out as a part of a larger project.”
“The argument (from Eckles) is that we would have had to pay for it anyway,” Steele said.
The district opened its renovated middle school at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year. The facility, constructed in 1964, formerly served as the district’s high school before undergoing a $48 million overhaul.
The middle school houses students in grades five through eight.
In addition to the middle school, the district opened a newly constructed, $76 million high school in 2011. Its former middle school is in the midst of a demolition.
Board members on Monday also tabled a series of change orders related to sewer and waterline work running through the high school’s stadium and field house.
School board member Laura Schisler, who also sits on the board for the Moon Township Municipal Authority, said a water authority inspector contacted her regarding a number of issues related to water lines in that portion of the campus, including specifications on water meters and aging pipelines.
Schisler said she believes contractors on the project had not contacted the water authority “since the first phase of construction” on the middle school.
Schisler said she brought the issue to the attention of school board members and administrators earlier this week.
“The inspector had picked up on some red flags,” Schisler said. “To me, it was odd, that we have this type of project and this would not have been looked at sooner.”
MTMA President John Riley said an engineer is now working with the district to address those issues.
Steele said the district is unsure of when work will be finalized on the district’s main campus. He said tentative plans indicate that work may wrap up in August.
“But I’ll believe it when I see it,” Steele said.
Construction on the high school began in 2009, with work on the middle school following.
Former prime contractor Reginella Construction defaulted on the middle school renovation in 2012—a setback that Steele said is likely to blame for delays and confusion on change orders.
“We can’t seem to get a date on when this is going to end,” Steele said. “I asked that question (to Eckles manager Brian Fulkerson) and I didn’t get an answer.”