LEWISTOWN - Decision time is moving closer for the Mifflin County School Board with regard to the proposed renovation project at Indian Valley Elementary Center.
On Thursday, board members heard a progress report on the project plan which included more than 20 alternate options on items such as insulation, heating and cooling sources, types of flooring, windows and other amenities of the building.
On hand at the meeting were Rick Evans and Todd Buzard, representing Reynolds Construction Management of Harrisburg, the firm hired to oversee construction management, the bidding phase and the construction phase.
Buzard said final drawings on the proposed renovation, which will add classrooms, a new heating system and basically "give the building new life for the next 25 to 30 years," are scheduled to be completed by Dec. 17. He said bids will be received between Dec. 21 and Jan. 17 so, "hopefully, you can take action and award bids at your Jan. 24 meeting."
Should the board move forward with the project, Buzard said he is anticipating a 12 month construction schedule. The project budget is slightly more than $10 million and employs a financing strategy that utilizes the combination of an Energy Savings Contracting Organization and a state-aided PlanCon project that is supposed to reduce costs through energy savings.
Rick Evans, also with Reynolds, said his firm is estimating energy savings of approximately $2 million, which can go directly toward the total cost of the project. Both Evans and Buzard also recommended several changes that would remove some of the renovations from the ESCO side and place them into the overall bid, "in an effort to maximize the amount of state reimbursement."
On a related note, the board plans to hear from Brad Remig, a financial advisor with Public Financial Management of Harrisburg, who will be present at a special voting session Nov. 1 to go over options on a proposal to issue municipal bonds to finance the project.
Vern McKissick, president of the architectural firm McKissick Associates of Harrisburg, was also on hand Thursday to provide an update on his firm's involvement.
"We've been having multiple meetings since we last saw you in early September," McKissick reported. "In addition to the IVES project, we continue to look concurrently at the middle school boiler replacement project and the junior high school project when and if you wish to proceed in those areas."
With regard to the elementary school project, Superintendent James Estep said the plan is not to create a palace.
"There's nothing fancy about this," he stated. "You're looking at getting a roof, a heating system and new windows in addition to the other renovations and then you've got a building you can use for a long while."
Should the board ultimately vote to approve the project, Buzard said construction could begin as early as Feb. 11. He added that any work needed to be done in student traffic areas would take place during a second shift so as not to disturb the children during their school day.
In other business Thursday, the board:
Hired Stephen Whalen to a multi-craft maintenance position effective Oct. 18.
Approved a resolution authorizing the board to seek sealed bids for the sale of Brown Elementary School.
Approved subdivision plans for the Strodes Mills Elementary and Middle School property to be submitted to the Oliver Township Board of Supervisors for review.
Accepted the resignation of Linda Vance, school nurse at Mifflin County Middle School, due to retirement.
Hired Melinda Parson as a part-time breakfast server at Mifflin County Middle School.
Approved Kimbra Longwell and Debra Yingling as cafeteria substitutes.
Approved the following drivers for J&D's Bus Lines: Karen Reigle of Burnham and Ronald Hampton of Lewistown.
Approved Kelly Jo Nearhoof as a bus driver for Fisher's.
Recalled Jessica Lloyd from furlough to the position of English teacher effective Jan. 7, 2013.
Accepted the voluntary resignation of Jessica Lloyd due to the declination of a job offer effective Sept. 25.
Recalled Jennifer Freed from furlough to the position of English teacher effective Jan. 7, 2013.
Hired Ashley Kitting as a long-term substitute grade 6 reading teacher at Mifflin County Middle School.
Hired Ashley Wagner as a school psychologist, districtwide, effective Oct. 17.
Added the following to the 2012-13 substitute teacher list: Shawn Spickler, all subject areas; Andrew Davidson, Spanish; Richard Cook, general science/agriculture; Betty Longfield, biology/general science; Georgean Leith, all subject areas; and Thomas Seay, art.
Deleted Richard Cook from the substitute teacher list.
Approved Gayle Moyer to be a classroom volunteer at East Derry Elementary School.
Hired the following coaches for the 2012-13 school year: Steven DeArment, first assistant boys basketball; and Raymond Klinger Jr., assistant seventh grade basketball.
Approved the following volunteer coaches for the 2012-13 school year: Tyler Fink, boys basketball; David Wray, wrestling; Matthew Walters, boys basketball; David Stuck, softball; Bruce Brumbaugh Jr., girls basketball; Craig Bubb, softball; Hannah Geedey and Emily McConnell, girls basketball.