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Upper Perk Board Settles on Construction Alternatives for New Middle School

            Construction add-ons to the new Upper Perkiomen Middle School approved by the school board Aug. 24 will bring the total cost of the project to $55.890 million. However, that figure still comes in $3 million under projected budget figures released in May 2015.

            School board members voted unanimously to accept a series of nine recommendations offered by its construction manager during an Aug. 24 board workshop meeting that collectively add $776,196 to the project. The alternatives were accepted during discussions about low bids for the project. Bids could awarded next month. None of the alternates changed any of the apparent low bidders, according to Fazil.

            Approval of five alternates from Boro Construction, a King of Prussia outfit, will add $317,500 to the general construction cost, according to add M. Arif Fazil of D'Huy Engineering Inc. of Bethlehem, the firm hired to manage the project. Boro Construction presented the low general construction base bid of $32.557 million.

            The accepted alternate construction plans include spending an additional  $5,000 to substitute Carolina Collection Dark Palomino bricks for the Glen-Gery Allington-Redburn bricks on the exterior building and an additional $18,300 to install sod, instead of grass, along the front and sides of the building. Another accepted option will direct the contractor to install quarry tile, instead of ceramic tile, in the serving area, kitchen, dry-storage area and allergy-free kitchen at an extra cost of $11,200.

            Board members also approved an alternative that pays the contractor a flat fee of $242,000 for rock removal and authorizes the use of blasting.

            With relative certainty, Fazil said the flat fee would be more cost effective for the removal than the payment per the amount originally proposed.  "If you accept this, the contractor owns the cost of removing the rock," the manager said. "It should make the need for a change order on this issue very slim."

            Robert J. Breslin, a principal in the Allentown architectural firm that designed the new school, described blasting as the preferred method to remove rock.  "It's a very regulated and safe process," he told the board.

            Albadarell Electric, Inc. of Bethlehem delivered the low electrical construction base bid at $5.120 million. Board members also accepted an electrical alternate that calls for the implementation of a rooftop solar electric power system, designed to offset 5 percent of the building's electricity at a cost of $193,396. An additional $1,053 will be added to electrical construction costs to outfit the allergy-free kitchen.

            District officials have up to nine months following the awarding of the bid to withdraw this alternative.

            Boro Construction also submitted the low HVAC base bid at $4.889 million. One of the alternatives for an allergy-free kitchen will add $1,000 to project costs.

            Stan-Roch Plumbing, of Philadelphia, posted the low plumbing base bid at $2.567 million. The board accepted a $3,000 alternative for the allergy-free kitchen.

            During the meeting, Fazil credited his team and the district administration for their efforts to attract 33 bidders.  "We have done a tremendous job making sure this project meets the budget and schedule requirements," he said during the meeting.

            The project's sub-total soft costs, initially budgeted at $8.974 million, have exceeded $10.015 million, according to the Fazil. 

            Land development services, from $343,231 to $825,000, and movable fixtures and equipment, from $700,000 to $1.4 million, account for the largest increases. 






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