SHARON SCHOOLS Renovation cost rises $200,000

No one knew the supports under the school wing were in bad shape until the renovation project was under way.
SHARON, Pa. -- The cost of renovating Sharon Middle-High School just went up about $200,000.
Superintendent Richard Rossi led the school board on a tour of the technical education wing during a work session Wednesday, pointing out that concrete supports of the wing have deteriorated and must be replaced.
The damage wasn't visible until most of the tech ed wing was demolished for rebuilding, Rossi told the board. The rear wall and roof of that wing will remain.
The plan is to excavate 10 feet and install new concrete supports. The result will increase the construction budget about $170,000, he said.
That work will also require the removal of an electric line from the high school to the nearby Educational Service Center, and replacing it will cost between $25,000 and $30,000 more, Rossi said.
The overall project cost already stands at about $17 million.
Although the cost will go up, the district is still well ahead of the architect's original estimate, Rossi said, noting that construction bids came in about $1 million lower than anticipated.
The board seemed resigned to the fact that the work must be done.
The alternative would be to remove the tech ed wing and rebuild it at an estimated additional cost of $500,000 to $600,000, Rossi said.
"We really don't have a choice," said School Director Pamela Corini.
A formal vote on the change order could come at Monday's regular meeting.
School Director Dom Russo asked where the district will get the extra money.
James Wolf, district business manager, said the board is already committed to borrowing between $1 million and $1.5 million to complete the financing on the project, and the cost of the additional work could be added to that debt.
He said the figure could go higher if the board decides to undertake renovations at Case Avenue Elementary School.
Sharon has already borrowed $29 million in three bond issues to finance the renovation and expansion of its Musser and West Hill elementaries and most of the high school work.
Property taxes have risen by 13 mills so far to pay that debt. One mill costs the average residential taxpayer about $5 per year.

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