CLEARFIELD – On Monday night, the Clearfield Area School District Board of Directors voted, 7-2, to approve a change order of up to $90,000 to replace tile on the Clearfield High School’s pool deck.
Board members Susan Mikesell, Dr. Michael Spencer, Mary Anne Jackson, Phil Carr, Jennifer Wallace, Tim Morgan and Larry Putt voted in favor. Board members Rick Schickling and Gail Ralston opposed the motion.
Prior to the board’s vote, Superintendent Terry Struble reported that the architect had requested pricing for two items related to the pool area. The first, he said, was pricing of replacement tile for the pool deck and the second was for balcony railing.
According to him, the pool’s original balcony railing still meets code from when it was installed; however, today’s code states it should probably be a lot higher than what it is currently. He said its manufacturer still exists and the same brackets are used today as were used in the 1970’s.
“It could be as easy as pull one rail out and put another one in,” said Struble. “It just becomes a matter of the cost of it.” So far as the cost of the replacement tile for the pool deck, he said the estimate would be around $90,000, and the architect believes that figure is a little bit high with what they’re estimating that cost to be.
He said this cost exceeded any approval of a change order that would be granted to the administration without board approval. He personally felt the cost was a lot given the fact that it wasn’t necessarily for a safety or other change but more for appearance.
Struble said he wanted to present the option to the board as part of the current project’s timeline. He said if they wanted to proceed, they could do so with an “up to amount;” otherwise, he said they would have to wait until after the high school swimming season and classes. But if they waited, he said they would have to find a way to control dust and dirt and do it at a later time.
When asked Charles Knauff, construction administrator, said if the board approved tile replacement for the pool deck, it would realistically push the completion of the pool area’s renovations to November.
Mikesell said as much as the timeline panics her, she felt the district had “spent all of this money” to upgrade all of its other facilities, and it couldn’t cut the pool area short. “I realize it’s a lot of money, but to me, we have spent a lot of money upgrading our other facilities,” she said.
Struble reminded the board it’s had change orders that have deducted $109,241 from the high school project; to date it hasn’t had any change orders exceeding its project costs; it has an $800,000 contingency that it hasn’t yet touched; and it also has about $640,000 in its unit allowances as of the end of July.
“It’s there. It’s available,” he said. “It’s just the wish of the board at this point of what it would like to see us do or not to do.”
Spencer said he agreed with Mikesell, but the district also had an obligation to have the pool open in a timely manner. He said some high school swimmers utilize the Clearfield YMCA’s pool facilities for workouts; however, he pointed out that not all are YMCA members and are paying to practice there.
Struble said the board also had the option of waiting until the completion of the high school project. At that point, he said it could revisit what funds it has available and then put it out to bid as a completely separate project outside of the high school renovation and expansion. But Struble said that could produce completely different results, as right now they’re looking at a change order.
Carr then asked if the district had any idea of which option would be less expensive. Struble said they received the cost estimate for the pool deck’s tile replacement at around 5 p.m. Monday, so they didn’t have additional information, and he didn’t have a feel of one way versus the other.
Later in the meeting Carr asked again, Knauff explained that right now, the cost of the pool deck’s replacement tile is relatively fixed. However, if they wait until the completion of the high school project, he said they have no way of knowing what it might be. Knauff said they would be better served by moving forward with this now, as it would require “significant work.”
Spencer said if the board delayed the pool deck’s tile replacement, dust control would become a factor in the project. Ralston said she realized dust would be an issue, but contractors have ways of dealing with that, and it should not be the premises of the board’s decision. Spencer disagreed, saying he was torn because he wants the pool to be open, but dust and dirt posed a great risk to the board’s investment in the pool.
Schickling said he wouldn’t vote in favor of replacing the tile for the pool deck. He said it wasn’t a safety issue, and they’re considering spending more money. Schickling said he’s voted no on a lot of projects and would again on this one because it wasn’t necessary.
“I know it’s a lot of money, but nothing has been done to that pool,” said Mikesell. Jackson asked if anyone had discussed the matter with the swimming coach. Principal Tim Janocko said he hadn’t spoken to her about this matter, but she was obviously apprehensive about when she’d be able to get into the pool, as it not only effects the swimming season, but also the school’s physical education classes.
Morgan asked those who had particular interest in the pool for their opinion of when to proceed with the replacement of the pool deck’s tile. Spencer said now would be the better time due to the dust factor. Janocko then asked if the swimmers would have access to the pool facilities at the Clearfield YMCA if something would happen to delay the pool project at the high school.
Spencer said the swimming coach had already arranged for workouts at the Clearfield YMCA. He noted again that not all Clearfield swimmers are members and pay each time they go in. As much as he wants the pool open, Spencer said if the board goes down this road, he wanted it to do so now.
Knauff said if the board didn’t proceed with replacing the pool deck’s tile, the pool area’s renovations would be completed around Oct. 1. Morgan then said the only real drawback of replacing the pool deck’s tile would be an approximate one month delay in the pool’s availability to the swimming team and overall student population.
Following the discussion, Mikesell motioned to approve the change order of up to $90,000 for the replacement tile for the pool’s deck. Spencer seconded the motion.