Category: Armstrong School District

Decision Due Soon on Shannock Valley Elementary Renovations

Schematic designs for the first floor of the Rural Valley school include new flooring in areas, a new security vestibule and a handicapped-accessible elevator.

Schematic designs for the first floor of the Rural Valley school include new flooring in areas, a new security vestibule and a handicapped-accessible elevator.

by Jonathan Weaver

Armstrong School District could be in line for two consecutive summers of renovation projects.

Elected board directors could decide at their first meeting of 2017 whether Shannock Valley Elementary, in Rural Valley, will be undergoing renovations this coming summer.

After approving a performance-grade audit the past few months, school board directors might take another step toward renovations at the 53-year-old school after hearing from Reynolds Building Solutions Program Development Director Mike Conchilla during their open caucus session.

In August, school directors received a 21-page report of possible energy solutions to Shannock Valley and Eldertion Elementary schools, and Conchilla recapped the recommended mechanical, electrical, plumbing and architectural upgrades.

“This building was really built in two pieces, and operates as two separate buildings right now,” Conchilla said.

In June, Conchilla noticed two separate boilers, 40-year-old heating classroom units and also original flush toilets and worn classroom sinks.

The most-visible renovation would include new front, single-pane windows as well a security vestibule at the front of the building and measures to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act– such as installing an elevator.

“All corridors would receive new ceilings and lights for a fresher look,” Conchilla said. “A lot of our plumbing and duct work have to go through there anyway.”

Reynolds Building Solutions Project Development Director Michael Conchilla returned to last night's Armstrong School District board directors open-caucus session to discuss possible renovations to Shannock Valley Elementary School this summer. The current timeline projects board directors will decide next month.

Reynolds Building Solutions Project Development Director Michael Conchilla returned to last night’s Armstrong School District board directors open-caucus session to discuss possible renovations to Shannock Valley Elementary School this summer. The current timeline projects board directors will decide next month.

Mechanical upgrades could include demolishing current, 40-year-old HVAC equipment and extend air conditioning to the entire building.

Electrical upgrades – which also serve as safety upgrades – would include a new emergency generator, fire alarm system and LED technology.

Plumbing upgrades would include new bathroom fixtures, drinking fountains and water piping where needed after inspection.

All told, Conchilla estimated all renovations could cost about $10.5 million – with more than a third of the cost attributed toward architectural renovations.

If able, Conchilla hopes to return at the January open caucus session and release bidding documents the second week of 2017.

“Time is of the essence when trying to get stuff done in the summertime,” Conchilla said. “The biggest thing for us is trying to get equipment in time. If we wait past March, we run the risk of not getting things in time to get it done in the summer.

“We’re pressing on all cylinders right now.”

Limited construction could begin in April, with full construction beginning days following the end of the school year.

School officials have discussed postponing Elderton Elementary renovations instead of coordinating both projects in 2017, School Superintendent Chris DeVivo and Finance and Operations Director Sam Kirk said.

Architects Sought for Armstrong River Hawks Stadium

The original plans for the Armstrong Junior/Senior High sports complex were unveiled in 2014. School directors are now focusing on the project once again. (KP File Photo)

The original plans for the Armstrong Junior/Senior High sports complex were unveiled in 2014. School directors are now focusing on the project once again. (KP File Photo)

by Jonathan Weaver

With Armstrong Junior/Senior High School built and State construction reimbursements finally coming in, Armstrong School District board directors now hope to re-focus on building a new sports stadium.

In November, school directors approved to solicit for architectural services to complete the River Hawks athletic complex, as recommended last week by Financial Director Sam Kirk.

“When the (Armstrong Junior/Senior High) school plan was originally done, there was an athletic complex proposed at that time. Half of that athletic complex has been completed (by way of tennis courts and softball and baseball fields),” Kirk said. “It went out for bid almost two years ago now, and it came back very high to do the whole (complex).”

In August 2014, L.R. Kimball Project Manager Brian Hayes presented school board members with $9.1-$10.5 million cost estimates for the athletic complex at their first open caucus session of the 2014-15 fiscal year.

A total $9.1 million bid was calculated for the 3,500-seat football stadium alone from the five lowest bids opened in June 2014. Low bidders included $7.2 million for general contracting through L.S. Fiore of Altoona (Blair County), $674,000 in plumbing with McRandal Company of Blawnox (Allegheny County) and $239,000 through Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning through D&G Mechanical of West Middlesex (Mercer County).

“Those bids absolutely are high -we’re trying to explain to ourselves why they are,” Hayes said at the time. “I think it’s a number of various conditions and circumstances surrounding the project.”

Visiting bleachers would have cost an additional estimated- $300,000 and the ideal running track for around the competition football/soccer field would have cost about $92,000.

Kirk said last night, services for the ‘scaled-down’ version of the stadium would be solicited – which include the six-lane track and fieldhouse full of concession stands and restrooms – but an architect would not be appointed until at least January.

In January 2015, Engineer Brian Hayes also proposed at least a dozen cutbacks to the new $10 million athletic complex – including eliminating the visitor grandstands (thereby also reducing the bathroom and concession facilities) constructing a smaller field house with less locker rooms and considering only a six-lane track and four tennis courts instead of six in new bids – to entice more competitive bids when the district is ready for construction.

At that time, it was thought stadium ‘scale downs’ might reduce Armstrong’s eligibility to host regional tournaments, but would not limit any team athletics.

School Superintendent Chris DeVivo approved of Kirk’s recommendation.

“I think it would be smart to take a walk and see,” DeVivo said at last month’s open caucus session.

In August, Kirk said he hoped to build the stadium (which would include a track and also be home to the River Hawks soccer teams) for about $5 million.

Armstrong School District Director of Finances and Operations Sam Kirk said reimbursement money for previous building projects make this the time to consider a sports stadium.

Armstrong School District Director of Finances and Operations Sam Kirk said reimbursement money for previous building projects make this the time to consider a sports stadium.

In November, Kirk said Armstrong School District will receive more than $1.5 million in reimbursable PlanCon funds from the State following completed construction projects – including at Lenape Elementary, West Hills Primary and West Hills Intermediate.

“Our recommendation for that would be since we’ve ‘survived’ throughout the years without that money, to take those funds and put it back into our capital improvement construction funds to use for future capital projects,” Kirk said.

An estimated-$2.8 million in reimbursement will also be received from the State this Winter after a PlanCon project financing for the Armstrong Junior/Senior High School was approved. Those reimbursements will also be used toward future construction projects.

“What moving forward with that means is, we’re going to see about $530,000 annually in additional revenue from those payments we’re making on the new high school,” Kirk explained.

With the revised timeline, officials hope to open the stadium for the Fall sports season.

Architects Sought for Armstrong River Hawks Stadium

The original plans for the new Armstrong Junior/Senior High School football stadium will be re-drawn by perhaps a new architect in 2017 (KP File Photo)

The original plans for the new Armstrong Junior/Senior High School football stadium will be re-drawn by perhaps a new architect in 2017 (KP File Photo)

by Jonathan Weaver

With Armstrong Junior/Senior High School built and State construction reimbursements finally coming in, Armstrong School District board directors now hope to re-focus on building a new sports stadium.

Last night, school directors approved to solicit for architectural services to complete the River Hawks athletic complex, as recommended last week by Financial Director Sam Kirk.

“When the (Armstrong Junior/Senior High) school plan was originally done, there was an athletic complex proposed at that time. Half of that athletic complex has been completed (by way of tennis courts and softball and baseball fields),” Kirk said. “It went out for bid almost two years ago now, and it came back very high to do the whole (complex).”

In August 2014, L.R. Kimball Project Manager Brian Hayes presented school board members with $9.1-$10.5 million cost estimates for the athletic complex at their first open caucus session of the 2014-15 fiscal year.

A total $9.1 million bid was calculated for the 3,500-seat football stadium alone from the five lowest bids opened in June 2014.

“Those bids absolutely are high -we’re trying to explain to ourselves why they are,” Hayes said at the time. “I think it’s a number of various conditions and circumstances surrounding the project.”

Visiting bleachers would have cost an additional estimated- $300,000 and the ideal running track for around the competition football/soccer field would have cost about $92,000.

Kirk said last night, services for the ‘scaled-down’ version of the stadium would be solicited – which include the six-lane track and fieldhouse full of concession stands and restrooms – but an architect would not be appointed until at least January.

In January 2015, Engineer Brian Hayes also proposed at least a dozen cutbacks to the new $10 million athletic complex – including eliminating the visitor grandstands (thereby also reducing the bathroom and concession facilities) constructing a smaller field house with less locker rooms and considering only a six-lane track and four tennis courts instead of six in new bids – to entice more competitive bids when the district is ready for construction.

At that time, it was thought stadium ‘scale downs’ might reduce Armstrong’s eligibility to host regional tournaments, but would not limit any team athletics.

School Superintendent Chris DeVivo approved of Kirk’s recommendation.

“I think it would be smart to take a walk and see,” DeVivo said Thursday.

In August, Kirk said he hoped to build the stadium (which would include a track and also be home to the River Hawks soccer teams) for about $5 million.

With the revised timeline, officials hope to open the stadium for the Fall sports season.