The board of education will vote today on a recommendation to spend an additional $94,491 to dismantle a portion of the roof on the Butler Township building, remove the newfound mold and rebuild the roof.
“This is part of the mold remediation process,” district Superintendent Francis X. Antonelli said.
The recommendation to extend the mold remediation process into a portion of the roof comes on the advice of the industrial hygienist who was hired by the board in May, Antonelli said.
Director Robert Wallace, who has been an outspoken opponent of additional costs at the building, said he supports payment of the roof project for two reasons: the project must move forward in order for a clean and complete building to open on time at the start of the 2013-14 school year, and because he feels confident the district will recoup the money that was spent on correcting the building’s issues.
Around the time the board hired the industrial hygienist in May, they also hired a construction deficit expert to identify who is at fault for the mold, as well as an attorney to file suit against the faulty party.
“It’s very frustrating not to be able to come out and say everything we know because we are in pending litigation. But I really believe when it’s all said and done we will recoup the money we have to spend on this. I believe the board made some good decisions on who we brought in to advise us,” Wallace said
“If I didn’t believe we were going to be able to recoup the money, I would be voting ‘no’ on all of this. But I will be voting ‘yes’ because, to not do so would be holding the kids hostage who are excited about going to that school in the fall,” Wallace said.
Earley echoed Wallace’s confidence that the district appears likely to recoup the cost of remediation.
“Unfortunately we have to front the money,” Earley said of the district’s responsibility to pay for the change orders.
Despite the extra $94,491 to get the mold off the roof and the estimated $739,000 to remediate the mold between the walls, Earley said, the overall cost of the construction project is currently about a half million dollars under the projected budget, even with the mold remediation and roof reconstruction costs figured in.
The district bought the never-occupied building in the CAN DO Corporate Center, Drums, from the CAN DO Economic Development Corp. in the spring of 2012 for $4.4 million and awarded more than $6 million in construction contracts to transform the shell building into a state-of-the-art public school with specialized curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics..