Thursday, May 19, 2011

Trib: Shell-shocked Mt. Lebanon District continues eyeing cost-saving reductions

A first pass at cutting costs of renovating Mt. Lebanon High School has left some board members questioning the impact of reductions on programs and left others calling for even more savings.

Fred Watts of the architectural firm Celli Flynn Brennan and project manager Dana Damon of P.J. Dick on Tuesday appeared at a school board discussion meeting to report that they could cut $14 million from project design without impacting education. All of the proposed cost-cutting would occur in aspects of the project that fall in base bids for bricks-and-mortar construction, not so-called "soft costs," such as insurance and contingency fees

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Blogger Bill Matthews said...

I have not had the opportunity to watch the latest re-run of Horsman Drive Blues -- however, based on this TRIB article it is clear to me that this whole design needs some serious myth busting. I am four square behind the directors that are challenging the Steinhauer-quo.

If we can now do without this, that and the other thing -- what else can we do without? Or -- how better to configure what we do need? We do need tennis courts and a rifle range.

The current discussion beckons me back to the design team proposal to re-use +/- 25% of Building B for the Administration and +/-75% for some future yet to be determined use -- other than a high school.

The evening I heard that plan, I toured the entire HS Building with one of the OWPP principals and Mr. Allison. The gentleman from OWPP went out of his way to point out why Building B could not be reasonably renovated for use as a school. There were fire code issues, building code issues, ADA issues, on and on.

OK - I know almost nothing about most of these things. However, I did believe that Building B needed to part of the education solution or done away with. We should not have planned to spend one renovation penny to save a building that was not destined to part of the school. Later, it was determined that Building B could be renovated quite nicely.

Now what about Building C -- I recall Mrs. Birks asking a question about why Building C could not be renovated -- she identified an issue with the building mechanicals running vertically through the 6-story structure.

Mr. Damon (of PJ Dick) responded that addressing this issue would require an engineering solution (he did not say or infer it was an insurmountable obstacle). Yet, an engineering challenge was enough for Mrs. Birks and the rest of the Board to look the other way.

Note to Board: Building classrooms on stilts, a bridge across Horsman Drive, a multi-story entrance, a very expensive loading dock, and the Superintendent's private bathroom -- all require engineering solutions.

Now that we are where we are -- please follow the refreshing lead of Messrs. Remely, Lebowitz and Ostergard and Msses. Capucci and Stipanovich to challenge the Steinhauer-quo.


May 19, 2011 8:54 AM  
Blogger Tom Moertel said...

Just a reminder, folks: If you don’t put your real name on your comments, we won’t be able to publish them. (For more information, our commenting policy is clearly explained above the form used to submit comments and also in the right sidebar of Blog-Lebo’s home page.)

May 19, 2011 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad they now want to ax the tennis courts from the project just when the teams are beginning to shine once again....they apparently haven't found alternative courts either for the 3 - 4 year period of the project....demolition of the current 6 courts will occur early in the initial phase of the project.

By the way, the far over-budget base bids were not in fact the fault of the bidders, Mr. Chief Honcho for P.J. Dick speaking from the peanut gallery....they were the combined fault of the SB, the Master Design Team, the architectural team and very largely your firm, old boy, as well as the chief project mouthpiece, Dr. Tim.

Bill Lewis

May 19, 2011 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The author of the Trib article, R. A. Williams, is none other than Bob Williams, formerly of The Almanac and now a paralegal in town.

Bill Lewis

May 19, 2011 4:41 PM  

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