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WACS capital project bids come in $1.4 million under budget, board told

May 19, 2016
By David Prenatt ( , Westfield Republican

Westfield Academy and Central School Board of Education members learned at their regular meeting on May 9 that bids for the capital improvement project came in at $1.4 million less than was originally budgeted.

WACS Superintendent David Davison told the board that extending the time period by two weeks resulted in more competitive bidding. "We had a very good turnout and a very good bidding process . . . . The price was well below our original estimate," he said.

As a result of the lower bid responses received, the district will be able to include many alternates in this phase of the project. "The facilities committee recommended we go through and award all of the alternates," Davison said.

"This price includes stage work and the boiler in the Laughlin Building," noted Davison. Other alternates that will be added in are asbestos abatement, upgrades to lighting, swapping out locks on doors, and redoing the tennis courts, according to Davison.

"Even with that, we are still under the overall project price," Davison said. The district is also looking at doing an additional project next summer, he said.

Savarino Co. from Buffalo received the bid for general contractor. The roofing contract was awarded to A.W. Farrell and Son Inc. of Erie. Electrical work will be performed by BECC Electric of Dunkirk. Mazza Mechanical Services Inc. of Olean received the contract for HVAC. Asbestos abatement will be handled by Epic Contracting Inc. from Orchard Park. And Cianco Mechanical of Jamestown received the bid for plumbing.

Davison said that he and the capital improvement committee reviewed the bids carefully with representatives from Clark, Patterson, Lee, the architectural firm for the project. One of their main concerns was that the contractors would comply with all the specifications of each job, particularly asbestos abatement, he said.

Board president Steve Cockram echoed this concern to WACS facilities director Lou Golando. "The asbestos in the building is stable," Cockram said. "Are you certain that the low bidder is competent to not release asbestos in the air while removing it?"

Golando replied that he was confident that Epic could do the job. Furthermore, he said, asbestos handing his strictly regulated and requires third-party monitoring to ensure it is done properly.

In a related matter, board members also completed a first reading of policy # 5630 which deals with facilities inspection, operation and maintenance. Facilities director Lou Golando spoke to the board about the mandate to place carbon monoxide detectors in various locations throughout school premises.

According to the NYS mandate, the rule regarding carbon monoxide detectors will apply to all occupiable buildings in a school district/BOCES that contain equipment, or systems that may emit products of combustion. Buildings include school buildings, administrative buildings, bus maintenance facilities, concession stands, and field houses. The rule includes a definition of detection zones, and specifically states that every classroom is a detection zone. Therefore, at a minimum, every classroom with a carbon monoxide source will require carbon monoxide alarms or detection systems.

Golando told the board he has not received any estimates yet, and the simplest thing would be to go with Simplex Grinnell who provides the district's fire alarms. However, he noted, there are other options.

Board member Marie Edwards asked if the CO detectors were part of the capital improvement project, and she was told that they are not. Board President Steve Cockram recommended that a paragraph be added to the policy stating that there will be no open air cooling towers.

The board gave first consideration to policy # 7420: athletic placement process. WACS Athletic Director Jake Hitchcock offered clarification regarding the screening process. According to Hitchcock, the purpose of the Athletic Placement Process is to establish a method of screening students to determine their readiness to compete in interscholastic athletic competition by evaluating their physical maturity, fitness and skill.

Hitchcock also addressed the board regarding girls' basketball for next year. He said Brocton has approached Westfield about combining for varsity and junior varsity. "We've been bumped up to Class C already, so we might as well join with Brocton," he said.

Hitchcock reminded board members that this arrangement is only for girls' basketball and it may be for only one year. "The agreement is for one year only; we can revisit it again next year, Hitchcock said.

The Athletic Director said that if Westfield falls back into Class D after next year, the girls' basketball teams would want to separate from Brocton again. "But for the JV end, it's really going to help us next year," Hitchcock said.

Secondary School Principal Ivana Hite told board members that the Westwinds and Senior band tour to Disney World was very successful. Hite said this was an open competition that did not take school size into consideration. Therefore, most of the school against which Westfield competed were much larger.

Hite told the board that Westwinds received a superior rating and came in second overall. The concert band was given an excellent rating and placed 7th out of 14 schools.

Hite also told board members that prom was held at Webb's this year, and the after prom party, which was organized by district Clerk Tina Winslow, was held at the Moose Lodge. "The kids had a good time. The teachers were hearing positive comments about it today," said Winslow.

Several board members expressed their appreciation for Winslow's willingness to take on the task of putting together the after prom party. Winslow said the entire community helped out with support and donations. Hite noted that Mr. Dyment and Wendy donated the prize of a 40" flat-screen TV.

When public comment was invited, Mrs. Knappenberger said she wanted to express her appreciation for the after prom party. She said that once word started to get around about the prizes, more and more groups of students decided to go.

Knappenberger and Davison also told board members that the Senior Citizens' Breakfast went well this year. Knappenberger mentioned the Annual Friend to Education Award which is presented at the breakfast. This years' award, was presented to Stephen Koury, PhD from the Department of Biotechnical and Clinical Laboratory Sciences at the University of Buffalo.

In other business, school business official Anthony Montoro asked for the boards' acceptance of needed budget transfers. "Legal expenses are running relatively high this year", he said. Montoro added that BOCES costs and legal expenses weren't to the point of exceeding the budget until recently.

Montoro told board members that the district is exploring the possibility of using an automated payroll system, which would have electronic timecards with biometric controls. He said this type of system is very efficient, allows more data to be archived and searched, and would allow the district to do more with less staff.

Board member Brenda Backus told the board that from her personal experience with an automated payroll system, she can verify that "it is much, much more efficient."



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