Jersey Shore Area School District to rebid project

JERSEY SHORE – After bids came in over budget, the Jersey Shore Area School District will need to make adjustments before proceeding with a construction and renovation project at its borough elementary school.

“It’s obviously very unfortunate,” Brian Haines, of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates, told the school board Monday night. “We will have to adjust.”

Haines said bids came in about $1.3 million over budget. The budget recently was increased by about $1.4 million.

Haines explained that there were some market adjustments that weren’t accounted for. He added that the “main culprits” of a higher-than-expected budget were the general construction and HVAC contracts.

To get under budget, Haines said they would “adjust aspects of the design” but not the overall scope of the project. One suggestion was lowering the gymnasium addition by about four feet, which would not make it state Interscholastic Athletic Association approved. Haines said it shouldn’t matter as the district wasn’t planning on using it for competition.

Board member Robert Pryor asked Haines if the district had missed its “window of opportunity” for lower bids. Haines said the district could have received lower bids if it did it last year.

Board member Harry Brungard asked if it would be possible to cut an addition intended to create four new classrooms from the project. Haines believes there’s a “legitimate” need for the classrooms, but the move would bring the project under budget. Pryor said because the district already has paid the architect for designing the additions, it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money by cutting it out.

Haines said by rebidding aspects of the construction and changing parts of the project, it would bring it within the district’s budget.

Beth Miller, of Watson Township, asked the district to not put any additions on the school and only do renovations.

Haines added that since there weren’t drastic changes to the design, it would not require a public hearing.

When asked what it should expect with taxes if the project wasn’t reimbursed by the state, Pryor said after speaking with the offices of state officials he expects the funding.

Business Manager Adrienne Craig added that the district could use its capital reserve fund to pay off the project.