AP NEWS

W-B Area Opens Construction Bids For New High School

March 9, 2019

WILKES-BARRE — The Wilkes-Barre Area School District took another step Friday toward the construction of a new consolidated high school in Plains Twp.

The district opened more than 40 construction bids, and the school board plans to award 11 construction contracts at the next meeting on March 27. Construction is scheduled to start in early spring, Superintendent Brian Costello said.

Business Manager Thomas Telesz opened up sealed bids during the public bid opening, and Michael Krzywicki of Apollo Group Inc., the district’s building project manager, read the amounts of base bids and alternate bid options.

Bidders’ representatives packed the meeting room in the administration building and scribbled down information read during the bid opening. It lasted nearly 90 minutes.

The district plans to release the names of the bidders and the amounts of the bids on March 22, Costello said. The new high school will allow the consolidation of all three district high schools — Meyers, GAR and Coughlin — during the 2021-22 school year.

The district plans to borrow up to $137.3 million to fund the construction of a new high school between Maffett and North Main streets in Plains Twp. The district bought the 78-acre site from Pagnotti Enterprises for $4.2 million.

The 11 construction contracts up for bid are for the following: site work; building shell, elevators and pool; metal framing, drywall and acoustical ceilings; general trades; food service equipment; fire protection; plumbing; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; electrical; landscaping; and aluminum and glass.

Members of Save Our Schools, the group that has opposed the high school consolidation plan in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District, plan to back several school board candidates this year. Save Our Schools has endorsed a plan to build a new Coughlin building in Plains Twp. and renovate existing GAR and Meyers facilities.

Members have also criticized the construction project because of previous mining activity at the current Plains Twp. site. School officials have said the site will be safe because the district is working with the state Department of Environmental Protection and environmental safety measures will prevent exposure to potentially harmful soil.

When the new high school opens, the district plans to close the Coughlin and Meyers buildings and use GAR as a middle school. The oldest portion of Coughlin closed in January 2016 due to exterior deterioration and safety concerns, and students in the 11th and 12th grades were moved to the Coughlin annex in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Since then, Coughlin students in the 9th and 10th grades have been going to the Mackin school building, which is more than 1 mile away from the Coughlin site.

Contact the writer:

mbuffer@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2073, @cvmikebuffer

 

What’s Next — Wilkes-Barre Area School Board meeting

When: 6:30 p.m. March 27

Where: Cafeteria of the Solomon/Plains school complex, 43 Abbot St., Plains Twp.