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Bids come in over budget, delaying work in Schenectady schools

Bids come in over budget, delaying work in Schenectady schools

Improvement projects postponed at two elementary schools
Bids come in over budget, delaying work in Schenectady schools
The exterior of Schenectady High School is shown.
Photographer: Gazette File Photo

Facilities improvements slated for Paige and Van Corlaer elementary schools were put on hold after construction bids came in higher than Schenectady school district officials had planned.

The two schools were set for nearly $4 million in combined renovation work – $1.1 million at Van Corlaer and $2.8 million at Paige – but after construction bids recently came in over budget, officials chose to table those projects to move forward with work at Schenectady High School.

Bids for work at the high school also came in higher than what the district had budgeted for, forcing district officials to focus funds on those projects while setting the Paige and Van Corlaer projects aside for now.

The school board last week approved over $7 million in construction bids to convert the high school's heating system from steam to hot water and other infrastructure upgrades. The district had planned for the high school project to cost just over $4 million.

The construction projects at those three schools are part of a $64.5 million project approved by district voters in 2017. The project is focused on improvements at the district's elementary schools, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Woodlawn elementary schools both in line for around $13 million worth of projects.

Superintendent Larry Spring told the school board that district officials, architects and contractors were “still problem solving” how to fit the Paige and Van Corlaer construction work into the larger capital project.

“It means there will be no work at Paige and Van Corlaer until we are able to assess what funds are available,” Kersten Lorcher, an architect working on the district's capital project, told the school board.

The Van Corlaer project included replacing the fire alarm system panel, adding new exterior cameras, upgrading the school's communication system and renovating the building's exterior masonry. Van Corlaer received significant renovations under the district's prior capital project, which was completed within the last year.

Work slated for Paige included replacing heating and cooling control systems, renovating playgrounds, replacing pavement, installing a new communications system and updating the fire alarm systems.

Spring said the capital project planning team has to consider overall finances, timing and school-level spending constraints as its members consider how to get to the work planned for Van Corlaer and Paige done.

“It's still work that needs to get done, and we have to think about how that fits into plans with time as well as finances,” Spring said at last week's board meeting. “It's complex, so it will take a little bit of time for us to tease this out and figure out what the best [plan going] forward is on all of these.”

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