Officials have bigger plans for Edison project

PARKERSBURG – A construction and renovation project at Edison Middle School will start in two weeks, but officials are hoping to expand the scope of that work before it begins.

The state School Building Authority last week approved a bid package for construction which came in nearly a million dollars below initial estimates. The project will create additional classrooms at Edison, renovate and expand the school’s office facilities, create a security link to bring the entire school under one roof and install a sprinkler system throughout the building.

Mike Fling, assistant superintendent of school services for Wood County Schools, said the contract was awarded to G&G Builders at a cost of $1.654 million, nearly $1 million below initial estimates.

Fling said because of the huge difference in cost, state officials took more time in reviewing the contract to make sure nothing had been left out.

Fling said now local officials are seeking to add into the project some of the items which have been removed from previous submitted plans.

“This was our third time submitting the plan to the SBA, so some of the things we had omitted earlier on we are now seeing if we can place back in,” he said.

The deal with the SBA means the state picks up 80 percent of the final cost, with Wood County Schools paying the remaining 20 percent. Since those percentages were based on a total cost of close to $3 million, Fling said it gives the project a little more wiggle room.

At last week’s Wood County Board of Education meeting, Ryan Taylor, president of construction management firm Pickering Associates, said the project cannot go beyond the submitted plan, so the school system couldn’t add things it hadn’t previously asked the SBA to approve.

But Fling said state officials are now considering allowing some of the items contained in those earlier requests.

For example, the project will enclose an external staircase with a metal canopy. Under the current plan a new roof and structure would be built around that existing structure, but Fling said there may be issues with the stairs and creating a seam between the old and new roofs.

The district is asking to instead build new stairs and a new roof as part of that enclosure, he said.

Also, the current plan calls for using some of the school’s existing metal doors. Fling said officials would rather have better fitting and more secure new doors if the cost of the project would allow.

“These are all things that have a tremendous impact on the aesthetics and function of the facility,” Fling said. “There are about 10 things we’ve asked to be put back into place.”

The project is set to begin in two weeks when students are out of school for the summer. Fling said he hopes to have an answer from the SBA this week so new materials can be ordered and available when work begins.

“There is some lead time on some of these items,” he said.