A conceptual drawing of the military tribute
By Jonathan Weaver
Armstrong School District board directors are considering two design upgrades to the new Armstrong Junior-Senior High School in Manor Township.
L.R. Kimball Project Manager Brian Hayes presented a conceptual drawing of a military tribute for outside the library plaza.
“We developed this idea to provide a place of honor for veterans of the military. It’s a place of prominence on top of a hill with a scenic overlook,” Hayes said. “Those types of spaces are really cause for reflection.”
An 30-foot by 60-foot American flag would also serve as a focal point coming across the Judge Graff Bridge into Ford City to identify the school.
A Commonwealth flag, the five flags symbolizing each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces and a flag dedicated to those Prisoners of War or Missing in Action would also be part of the tribute.
The tribute would also include a walkway of personalized bricks leading to the 100-foot tall flagpole (which would be more than 50 feet taller than that portion of the school) as part of a legacy brick program.
“There are enough bricks there for a reasonable amount per brick that it could probably pay for the entire project,” Hayes said.
Hayes said L.R. Kimball also designed a brick program at Penn State University.
Superintendent Stan Chapp was confident school administrators would be able to sell the 5,000 bricks as part of the program – at a cost of $75 per brick – “very quickly.”
The overall tribute would cost about $245,000, but the excess would cover the cost of memorial bricks. About $80,000 of expenses could be eliminated from the final cost if items are donated.
A $6,000 deduct change order would also be applied after moving and upgrading the flag pole from outside the building entrance.
Board Vice-President Christopher Choncek and other school directors said they would have to think about the tribute since it could cut into educational benefits for students.
Reynolds Construction On-Site Managers Rochelle Fennell and Stephen Reckhart also showed school directors samples of upgraded flooring that could save the school district maintenance cost in the future.
“We’re going to be moving into finishes, and the building contractor came to us and asked if the district would be interested in upgrading the flooring material,” Fennell said.
About 150,000 square feet of school hallways and classrooms are currently designed to utilize basic vinyl composition tile (VCT) – which has grown softer after asbestos was removed and could crack causing the state of Ohio to not even allow the material in their schools.
“They recommend a minimum of 3-5 layers of wax on it to protect it – which is a big undertaking to clean all the rooms,” Fennell said. “Based on our experience, you could have a concrete floor looking beautifully, and after you put VCT down, the next day you will see every blue mark and imperfection – especially in the corridor.”
Facilities Director Bill Henley said staff members currently clean flooring with two coats of seal and four coats of wax.
“No matter what you do, after the first day of school you come back three weeks later, it just looks like you didn’t do anything to those floors,” Henley said. “It doesn’t take long
Because of the problems, Fennell said an enhanced vinyl tile (VET) or a luxury vinyl tile (LVT) has been more-utilized lately. VET would cost about a dollar more per tile and LVT about $1.20 more.
“The main difference is the contractor is saying that VCT has 125 PSI strength, when you go to VET it rises to 400 and when you go to LVT, it goes to 500PSI,” Fennell said. “We think it would be a great improvement and upgrade to your school, and that you’ll be much-happier with either of these products.”
LVT tiles also would not have to be waxed by maintenance staff members, but there aren’t as many colors to choose from.
“If you start looking at material cost and labor cost with what you put into these floors now, you would get a pay back with this stuff in about 3-4 years,” Henley said. “We use a tremendous amount of money.”
An incorrect alternate bid was submitted in original designs – which are why construction managers did not recommend the upgrade.