School works out project details

Although one contractor will be doing roof work on multiple schools this summer as part of the second phase of the Massena Central School District’s $49.6 million capital project, officials have opted to sign two contracts rather than one. Madison Elementary School will be one of the schools receiving a roof replacement. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — Although one contractor will be doing roof work on multiple schools this summer as part of the second phase of the Massena Central School District’s $49.6 million capital project, officials have opted to sign two contracts rather than one.

One contract covers work at Nightengale Elementary School, Massena Central High School and J.W. Leary Junior High School. The second contract covers work at Jefferson and Madison elementary schools.

“After much discussion, we decided to go with two separate contracts. Though it is more paperwork for all involved, the two contracts makes clear that we will have two separate crews and leadership on the project. After the delays we experienced with Jefferson Elementary, it is probably best we keep the pressure on to ensure we have the manpower and appropriate attention to each roof in the project,” Superintendent Patrick Brady said.

During a special meeting Feb. 22, the district’s Board of Education awarded the contracts to A.W. Farrell & Son, Inc. for $2,370,414 — $1,423,207 for the first contract and $947,207 for the second contract.

The previous contract that had been awarded to Elmer W. Davis, Inc. for $3,754,700 is being closed out after the contractor was unable to complete work this past summer. Because of manpower issues and rain delays, roofing work that was scheduled to be completed at Madison Elementary School had been pushed back to this upcoming summer.

There was discussion during the meeting about the use of one versus two contracts since one contractor would be performing all of the work. A.W. Farrell had requested the projects be combined into a single contract to cut back on paperwork for both the company and school district.

In order to get paid, the contractor is required to itemize what they’re requesting for payment, what work justifies the payment and all of the wage rates for individuals who worked during that time period, an application that could be hundreds of pages long, according to Edward Bernhauer, an architect for the IBI Group, the district’s architectural firm.

A resolution passed by the board authorizes the use of a single contract or multiple contracts. But, board member Kevin Perretta questioned the use of one contract. His concern, he said, was that one contract, if used, might not provide a guarantee that two separate crews would be working simultaneously on the project.

Mr. Bernhauer said one contract could be used if it contained a provision that A.W. Farrell maintain two crews. Using two contracts would guarantee that the work was being done simultaneously at the schools. Officials have received a commitment from the company that there will be a project manager in the office, a full-time on-site superintendent, two foremen and two separate crews.

Phase two of the project is currently under Quality Assurance/Quality Control review by the state Education Department following third party review of the project. Once it’s approved, the district can go out to bid.

The project has now been broken into a third phase, which will be completed in summer 2022 to wrap up the entire capital project. That work will include primarily J.W. Leary Junior High and Massena Central High School, along with some work at the Central Administration Building.

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