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NASD approves Rte. 329 contracts

Earth-moving is scheduled to commence Dec. 1 for a new elementary school and education center in Northampton Area School District.

NASD school directors voted 7-2 at the Nov. 13 board of education meeting to approve the prime construction contracts for the Route 329 project. Tabling the awarding of bids was not approved by a 7-2 vote.

School directors learned at the meeting that, based on bids received and associated expenses, the total project cost, including financing, of the new elementary school and education center has increased 4% to $75,858.529.

Directors were told at the meeting that partial renovation of Moore Elementary School, should the board choose to do so, will cost a minimum of $17,980,500.

Contracts, which include the base bid and recommended alternates, approved for the Route 329 project are:

• General construction contract for Penn Builders Inc.: $43,864,800

• Mechanical construction contract for Tri-County Mechanical Inc.: $9,522,000

• Electrical construction contract for Boro Developers Inc.: $9,444,000

• Plumbing construction contract for Vision Mechanical Inc.: $3,112,000

• Construction testing services contract for Kleinfelder Inc.: not to exceed $196,450

• Commissioning verification authority and testing-adjusting-balancing services contract for Butler Balancing Company: not to exceed $84,000

Before the vote approving the contracts, school Director Doug Vaughn made a motion to table the vote on awarding contracts, seconded by school Director Kim Bretzik. Vaughn and Bretzik cast the two votes to table the awarding of the contracts and the two votes to oppose the awarding of the contracts.

Vaughn said a vote to approve the contracts should be tabled until the school directors elected in the general election held Nov. 7 are installed at the school board reorganization meeting. The reorganization meeting is held before the next board of education meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4 in the Northampton Area High School auditorium, 1619 Laubach Ave.

The four-hour Nov. 13 meeting included comments for and against the Route 329 project by approximately 12 district residents among the estimated 125 persons in the audience.

Arif Fazil, president of D’Huy Engineering Inc., previously gave an 11-page bid review presentation. The review was posted Nov. 7 on the NASD website. Fazil also presented a 28-page draft study for the renovation of Moore Elementary School.

In his bid review presentation, Fazil said there were four competitive bids for general contractor, four bids for mechanical contractor, three bids for electrical contractor and five bids for plumbing contractor.

The bid review presentation includes two pages of general contractor bid tabulation, one page each of mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors’ bid tabulations and one page of recommended bid alternates. The bid alternates include budget management reductions of nearly $1 million.

Fazil said the elementary school and education center is in compliance with the Act 34 hearing, which was held Dec. 8, 2022.

The Act 34 maximum building construction cost is $44,707,536. Act 34 allows an 8% increase, or a construction cost of $48,284,138. The Act 34 maximum building construction costs based on bids is $46,702,658.

The actual bid, with alternates for the elementary school and education center, is $65,942,800, an increase from $65,490,464, which was budgeted.

With so-called soft costs of $6,872,536, including engineering, architect, furniture and more, the project total of actual bids with alternates is $72,815,336, an increase of $2,452,336 from the project total of $70,363,000, which was budgeted.

The project total with financing is $75,858,529, up from $73,406,193, which was budgeted.

The bid review presentation includes two pages of next steps for the Route 329 elementary school and education center, upon approval of the bids including:

• Nov. 14: Issue intent-to-award letters to the four low-bid contractors for general, mechanical, electrical and plumbing.

• Nov. 30: Hold preconstruction meetings with the project team, East Allen Township and Northampton County Conservation District.

• Dec. 1: Install erosion and sedimentation control systems and begin earth-moving.

• Dec. 22: Complete installation of construction entrances and staging area.

• Jan. 24-Feb. 15, 2024: Complete stormwater channels and proceed with site work.

• May 12, 2026: Building is substantially complete.

• July 29, 2026: Project is complete.

School directors also voted 7-2 to accept conditions of approval of the East Allen Township Board of Supervisors’ resolution 2023, which granted conditional final plan approval for the land development project for the new elementary school and education center at Route 329 and Seemsville Road in East Allen Township, and authorized the administration and solicitor to review documents, pay fees and resolve final plan approval. East Allen approved the resolution Oct. 26.

Jamie Doyle, managing director of PFM Financial Advisors, also presented a seven-page NASD financing discussion. Doyle said parameters resolutions for the NASD proposed financing plan could be approved at the Dec. 4 school board meeting. She also noted pricing of the 2024 bonds could be approved Jan. 4, 2024, to lock in interest rates, and settlement of the 2024 bonds could be approved Feb. 7, 2024.

Next week: Moore Elementary School draft study