Council OKs bond for school roof repairs
Date: 6/1/2011June 1, 2011
By Debbie Gardner
WESTFIELD Repairs to the roofs at Highland and Southampton Road elementary schools should begin soon after the last day of school, Frank Maher Jr., director of Operations, Maintenance and Food Service at Westfield Public Schools, told Reminder Publications
On May 19, the City Council voted 13-0 in favor of bonding for $2.45 million to cover the cost of the project. It also voted 13-0 to allow Mayor Daniel Knapik to execute a project funding agreement with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to enable the city to accept reimbursement for the roof repairs under the authority's Green Repair Program.
"At this point we've voted to bond; if we approve this we'll get [approximately] 62.5 percent reimbursement from the state," Ward 5 City Councilor and Finance Subcommittee Chair Richard Onofrey Jr. noted just prior to the vote.
According to Maher, the MSBA reimbursement will cover the cost of design work, a project manager and materials, but the cost of the actual roof demolition as well as any abatements necessary to complete the projects will be the city's responsibility.
Information previously supplied to Reminder Publications
by the MSBA indicates the reimbursement figure for the Highland project is expected to be $694,514; for the Southampton Road project the city would receive $717,302.
Maher said bids for the roof repairs were opened on May 26, and that the expected cost per square foot for the projects, without any amenities, was "in the neighborhood of $1.3 million." He indicated the city was expected to select a contractor within the next seven days, following the verification of the information contained in the bids.
"We do want to have it done by the start of school on Aug. 29," Maher said. "[The projects] must be completed by Aug. 26."
He called the MSBA's Green Repair Program "a godsend" for municipalities and school districts such as Westfield, which have multiple projects that need attention.
"The reimbursement rate is really good. Anything that costs [the city] 38 cents on the dollar is tremendous," Maher noted.
He also said the roofs on these two elementary schools have been in need of replacement for several years.
"It will be nice not to fix leaking roofs any more," he added. Debbie Gardner can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org