EAST LIVERPOOL - Despite some lingering reservations, the city school board voted Thursday night to proceed with the next step of the Patterson Field improvement project, specifically the home locker room/restroom facility foundation.
The board had been awaiting firmer figures on how much a Geopier foundation would cost compared to the cost of the traditional floating foundation originally proposed for the building.
A change order provided by Tice Builders, general contractor for the project, set the cost at $144,000, which included $68,000 for installation of the Geopier, $5,000 for prep work and labor prior to installation, $20,000 for engineer fill, $25,000 for placement, compaction of fill and equipment rental, $16,000 for concrete, rebar and miscellaneous materials and $10,000 for labor for rebar placement, concrete and footer work.
Board member Richard Wolf complained that quotes have been received throughout the project, as opposed to bids as required by law, saying, "I want no part of it. I don't know who's making decisions for this board."
When asked for specifics by board President Janice Martin, Wolf noted that a $347,000 quote for mechanical, electrical and plumbing components of the project was provided without being bid out.
Martin brushed off his concerns, saying, "That's not what we're here for tonight."
Board member Scott Dieringer said the $144,000 cost of the Geopier is "really no different" than the proposed cost of the original floating foundation, but questions were raised about the cost of the fill.
Newly retained project manager Sam Soward agreed the cost is "extremely high," but noted specific type of material had been requested by the structural engineer that costs about $30 per yard.
Board member Larry Walton also questioned, "What is this building going to end up costing us? This may be something we just can't afford to do. Less than three years ago, we were coming out of bankruptcy."
Superintendent James Herring reminded him that much of the material needed for the building has already been purchased whether or not the board approved the change order.
At some point, a second story had been planned for the building without board approval, but that has now been nixed, according to Dieringer, who said that will result in a savings about $240,000, and architect Scott Shepherd indicated some other savings might be seen in credits.
Treasurer Todd Puster said if the project goes over the original estimate, the only options would be to borrow money or transfer the additional costs from the general fund.
Wolf continued his push to finish the visitors' locker room, which is now under roof, and "do nothing" with the home locker room until a survey of property acquired by the district in the 1990s and a soil analysis of the southeastern corner of the property can be completed to see if the building can go there.
But other board members chose to go with the change order for the Geopier foundation, and it was approved 4-1, with Wolf opposed.
The foundation work is expected to get under way the first week of October and requires about four days, but Puster said a week is being allowed for the work.
Thus far, the state has not yet returned the OK for some plans, but Herring said the foundation can be built without those plans.