HERMITAGE Geriatric center bids hit target

The project hinges on a $2 million bond issue the agency intends to borrow.
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- The project architect says bids for the renovation and expansion of the Shenango Valley Center for Aging and Geriatric Health are right where they should be.
Mercer County Area Agency on Aging Inc. opened bids on the project Thursday and the total of the apparent low bids came in at just under $1.4 million.
That's right in the ballpark, said architect Thomas J. Keller.
Total cost: The total project cost is expected to reach about $1.6 million, but that includes furnishings that weren't in the bids opened, he said.
The plan calls for the renovation of part of the 6,500-square-foot building the agency recently purchased at 220 N. Buhl Farm Drive. It will become a geriatric center.
The 11,000-square-foot addition will house a dining room, kitchen and program space.
Paul Flint, president of the agency's board of directors, said the board isn't likely to award the construction contracts next month.
Financing for the project is not yet in place, and the board won't commit itself until the money is at hand, he added.
The bulk of the financing will come from a $2 million bond issue that will have the backing of the Mercer County commissioners.
Commissioner Brian Shipley said commissioners have agreed in principle to guarantee the bond repayment but were awaiting actual project costs before taking formal action.
That approval could come within the next month, he said.
Some of the bond money also will go to pay for the 6,500-square-foot part of the building. The purchase price was $379,000, and the agency has paid $175,000 of that amount.
Grants: The agency also is expected to get some state and local grants for the project.
Keller said contractors will have 210 days to finish their work from the time construction begins.

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