The Carbondale Area School Board agreed at a meeting on Wednesday night, March 21, to approve an additional $20,000 in changes to the high school renovation project — but only after first voting the measure down.


The Carbondale Area School Board agreed at a meeting on Wednesday night, March 21, to approve an additional $20,000 in changes to the high school renovation project — but only after first voting the measure down.

Background
Last month, some board members complained about nearly $200,000 in change orders which have been submitted for the project by the arcitectural firm The Palumbo Group.  Nevertheless, the board ended up approving most of the work by a 5-4 vote, with directors Tracey Andrews, Joseph Totsky, Thomas Cerra, and Nancy Mark opposing the motion.

Latest developments
During last week’s meeting, Palumbo presented two more change orders for ceiling work requiring modification to duct runs for approximately $20,000.  Director Joseph Caviston questioned the need for the work and the amount being billed.  Andrews agreed, arguing that the district is “averaging $45,000 [in additional costs due to change orders] every time we turn around — $20,000 here, another $20,000 there.”  Bill Byron, project manager with Palumbo, responded that the firm estimated at the outset that contingency funds of 4 percent of the overall $15 million project cost would be needed for unforseen expenses which would arise.  He noted that the contractors are on track to stay within that 4-percent figure, a number which he said is in line with industry standards.  Still, the board voted not to pay the $20,000 bill by a 6-3 vote, with directors Marcella Kaczmarcik, John Jordan, and board president favoring payment.  That changed, however, when Smedley warned that failure to pay would jeopardize the entire project.  He made another motion to pay the bill at that point, and it passed by a 6-3 vote, with directors Joseph Petak, Totsky and Mark in opposition.

BY THE NUMBERS

Total project cost
$15 million

Additional costs to date
About $250,000 in change orders submitted

Change orders (anticipated at the start)
Four percent of the total project cost

Change orders (at this point of the project)
1.5 percent of project cost to date

Where project stands
Work is more than halfway completed, so still under the estimated 4 percent figure overall