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Mars board OKs $15.3M middle school renovations

ADAMS TWP — The Mars School Board approved spending $15.3 million to renovate the Mars Middle School at a special meeting Monday morning, with work expected to begin at the end of the school year.

The project will renovate the 50-year-old building, adding a roof, new lighting, paint, a new gym floor and a kitchen serving area. There also will be HVAC improvements, a leveling of the floor in the common area at the center of the building and the completion of six specialty classrooms.

The board voted unanimously to approve the total “hard cost” price of $13,433,410, which includes the work on the building.

Members approved the total project cost of $15,373,632 — which includes such “soft costs” as fees — by voting 8-1 with William Pettigrew casting the lone “no” vote.

John Hays of Thomas & Williamson Program Management presented the bids and explained two additional “added scopes” that they recommended.

The first added scope was to pay $120,000 to raise the floor in the cafeteria. The second was to pay an additional $131,000 for luxury vinyl tile, or LVT, flooring for the classrooms, rather than cheaper vinyl tile.

While initially more costly, the LVT floors do not need to be waxed every year as cheaper tile does. Waxing costs about $30,000 per year, Hays said, and the school will ultimately save money with the higher-quality flooring.

Work on the project is scheduled to begin this summer and will continue through the end of the year in what Dayle Ferguson, board president, called “an aggressive timetable.”

Hays said students will be able to attend classes and continue their education unencumbered by the work.

“There is still work going on in the school during the school year until December,” Hays said. “Every kid has a classroom to go to. We've taken into consideration special needs classrooms and all that kind of stuff.”

Here are the “hard costs” for the Mars Middle School renovation project:

General construction: Tomlyn Construction, $3,660,000

Roofing construction: Pennsylvania Roofing Systems, $2,619,000

Food service equipment: Bova Corp., $354,910

Plumbing construction: Vrabel Plumbing Co., $968,200

HVAC contract: D&G Mechanical Inc., $4,033,900

Electrical construction: A1 Electric, $1,797,400

Total hard costs: $13,433,410