Strough Middle School project roof enclosure delayed

Published Nov 14, 2017 at 4:10pm

Unexpected roof-related issues affecting the pace of a Strough Middle School building renovation, and coordinating energy-saving projects at two other schools with a potential public bonding referendum, are under review by a Board of Education committee.

In discussions Monday by the board’s buildings and grounds committee:

• Strough’s 801 Laurel St. building, amid a $25.4 million renovation spanning two school years, is “still not enclosed” to the weather due to several deteriorating roof bar joists that need to be addressed, said school district Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds Paul Rabbia.

Affected is a small addition to the building that was targeted to be enclosed prior to colder weather, as one of the “milestone” dates in the project whose overall completion is to be in time for students to resume using the site next September; Strough students in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years have been using two other facilities.

“The weather is starting to turn against us a little bit” regarding the addition not being enclosed, Rabbia commented. “There’s the challenge,” he said, while adding that fabricated steel for the corrective work is to be arriving soon.

Rabbia noted that the district’s concerns about the project’s pace differ from general contractor J. Priore Construction of Utica, whose president is Joseph Priore.

While Rabbia said he indicated on a recent report that “progress appears slow,” he said Priore feels the project is “right on schedule.” He added he has told Priore, “‘you feel the project is on schedule. We feel concern.’”

Priore, when asked after the meeting about the school district issues, said that based on the master schedule, “everything is fitting in very well” for the project overall. He remarked “because of an unknown condition” until now, “the roof is not on” the addition, so it is “not something I’m behind on.” He said “I would hope it’ll be closed in by the end of the month” pending the joist corrective work, adding that the small addition area directly below the open roof is sealed off “so it doesn’t affect the rest” of the building.

Priore also cited several other stages of work proceeding elsewhere in the building. He added, “when you look at the master schedule...compared to where we’re at,” the project is “more than enough” on track.

• A report by C&S Companies of Syracuse regarding proposed measures for an energy performance contract for Rome Free Academy and Staley Elementary School is to be presented to the full board on Dec. 7, the committee was told.

The report will include “what it is they researched and discovered,” and proposals for “types of work” on the buildings to generate 10-year or 20-year energy-saving paybacks on the investment, said Rabbia. Their proposals includes project options of $3.8 million or $4.9 million, he added.

The school district also has been discussing a possible public bonding referendum for various repairs at the two schools, including more than the energy-related steps. If the district is to have “both an energy performance contract and a conventional capital project,” Rabbia said, it should be structured so “the two scopes of work don’t overlap one another.” It does “not replace the need for a capital project,” said board Vice President and buildings and grounds committee chairman Paul Hagerty.

Further efforts to plan for the referendum are awaiting results of a board ad-hoc committee that assessed companies’ ongoing service contracts with the district, including the current agreement with March Associates for architectural services. That committee’s recommendations are anticipated at the board meeting Wednesday night.