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School Board Directors Question $197,000 Cost Overrun on PRHS Expansion Project

Change order approved for extra work needed on parking lot.

Reconfiguring the front parking lot at turned into a more costly process than planned and school board directors questioned why at their Monday meeting.

In front of them was a $196,918 change order for Kusevich Contracting to pay for unforeseen costs when reconfiguring and paving the parking lot in front of the high school.

The Pine-Richland School Board voted unanimously to approve the bill, but not without questioning the higher costs. 

The work is part of a $32 million project to expand and renovate the high school.

Construction Manager Jason Day of P.J. Dick said that about a third of the parking lot site required extra work involving digging to the subgrade.

School Director Richard Herko asked about the geotechnical borings drilled in advance to check the geology of the site.

"They did not indicate problems in the soil," said Project Manager Cassandra Renninger of Eckles Architecture & Engineering. The problem areas fell between the borings, she said.

Herko pressed Day and Renninger on the use of the borings as a control mechanism and asked if the site would have been designed differently had they known in advance about the problem areas.

Even if more drillings had been ordered, they might not have hit in the problem areas, Renninger said, noting the additional cost of more borings. Conversely, if the borings had hit the problem areas, the cost of the project might have increased because additional work would have been done on the entire site instead of select areas.

"I used to play Battleship when I was a kid," school board director Jeffrey Banyas said. "If we played Battleship here we'd lose."

Superintendent Dr. Mary Bucci said there was no other alternative for the parking lot because "we are pretty much landlocked with parking."

Treasurer Dennis Sundo said there was no recourse to get someone else to pay the additional cost.

"What we're hearing is this is a surprise," Sundo said. "Basically, we're stuck with having to pay for this."

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