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Bid process on MAHS mini-stadium delayed as costs rise

By Phyllis Zimmerman, Special to the Press & Journal
Posted 11/12/19

The Middletown Area School Board has decided to hold off for now on selecting a bid option for the school district’s planned synthetic turf mini-stadium complex, the latest in a decision-making …

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Bid process on MAHS mini-stadium delayed as costs rise

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The Middletown Area School Board has decided to hold off for now on selecting a bid option for the school district’s planned synthetic turf mini-stadium complex, the latest in a decision-making process that has stretched into the better part of this year.

Last week, David Horn of Architera presented the school board with “value engineering design changes” and bid alternate recommendations of the district’s steering committee for the 500-seat stadium and an athletic amenities building that would be located in front of the high school, as well as a new maintenance/storage facility that would be situated behind the school.

Originally, the school board was scheduled to review two bid options for the facility Oct. 15, but that process was put on hold after the steering committee met earlier that month. Although the board took action that night to advertise the project for bid, members reportedly agreed that the project’s final scope needed more development before actually placing the advertisements.

On Oct. 3, the steering committee — comprised of Superintendent Lori Suski, district chief financial officer David Franklin, director of operations William Meiser, athletic director Cliff Smith (who has since resigned), and school board member Melvin Fager — met with Horn to review project costs that Horn presented at the Sept. 17 board meeting.

In September, Horn told district officials that the project cost estimates now tallied around $3.7 million, an increase of more than $500,000 from 2018. Suski noted then that the new estimates had come in “much higher than we anticipated.”

After that, the steering committee spent four hours with Architera representatives on “looking at every aspect of the project” for cost-cutting measures that wouldn’t impact the overall plan, Suski said. Architects then started updating project plans based on the most recent feedback from the steering committee, with plans to present updates to the school board Nov. 6.

Last week, the board was scheduled to either “affirm the recommendations of the steering committee or identify adjustments to their recommendations,” according to the meeting agenda for Nov. 6. As it turned out, “it was a little bit of both” financial and design aspects that averted board members from a final decision last week, Franklin said Monday.

“The board reviewed the recommendations of the steering committee and proposed some additional changes to how the bid package should be developed. Mr. Horn is working on those changes, and I believe there might be some future dialogue at the school board meeting,” Franklin said.

The school board next meets at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 in the high school’s large group instruction room, 1155 N. Union St.