Peters Township hires architectural firm for high school project
Hayes Design Group will continue to work with Peters Township School District on building a new high school.
The school board voted on July 11 to retain the firm’s services to provide architectural and engineering services for the schematic design through the construction administration phases of the project.
The district hired the Robinson Township, Allegheny County, firm in April 2016 to perform a feasibility study to determine the viability of renovating the existing high school vs. constructing a new one. Hayes also has conducted an assessment of district facilities as part of a strategic plan for capital expenditures over the next 10 to 15 years.
The board’s vote on the agreement with Hayes was 6-3. Opposing the measure were Rebecca Bowman, Daniel Taylor and William Merrell, who chairs the board’s buildings and grounds committee.
Taylor expressed concern about moving quickly “on a building that’s going to last us 50 to 75 years.”
“I believe that we should go out and get other bids,” he said. “I don’t think moving forward at this point is the right call.”
He also pointed to financial considerations.
“The budget’s very tight,” Taylor said. “The numbers are coming up very close to $90 million. There’s not a lot of movement.
The conceptual project budget for a new high school building, as presented to the board June 19, shows the net amount needed for the project going forward at $89.75 million.
Board member Lisa Anderson defended the selection of Hayes.
“I feel comfortable voting the way I will tonight knowing that we have done the best we can to get a contract that protects the district against some of their concerns, and I really don’t think that we could get a better one than this right now,” she said about the agreement.
In a neighboring municipality, Hayes worked on the design for the new Bethel Park High School, and the firm’s other educational projects include schools in California Area, Carmichaels Area, Charleroi Area, West Jefferson Hills and West Greene school districts.
The conceptual budget for the Peters Township project lists the amount for architectural/engineering services at $4.5 million, and the fee for a construction manager, which has anticipated date for retention on or before Sept. 1, at $2.24 million.
The process of designing the new school will include gaining input from stakeholder groups such as taxpayers, teachers and students. The timetable calls for bids for construction to be received in the spring, with work starting as soon as possible after the awarding of contracts.
“Substantial completion date” is targeted for October 2020, according to the agreement.
“It is a lifelong dream to be able to design a high school for the district I grew up in and live in currently,” Mark Duane, a Hayes Design Group principal, said. “This is a chance to contribute to the future of Peters Township and to help sustain it as one of the premier communities in which to live in southwestern Pennsylvania.”
Kevin Hayes, the firm’s founder, commended the educational quality offered by the district.
“Over the past 16 months, we have gotten to know this dedicated board and administration, as well as members of the talented teaching staff,” he said. “Our goal is to provide them with a new high school that will help them challenge and empower their students in new and exciting ways.”