Construction of the new Nitschmann Middle School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is being held up by bidding and budgetary issues.
Lehighvalleylive.com reports that the $45.6 million building project is $2.3 million short of what the project’s engineers have recommended. Offering bids for five different projects, the Bethlehem Area School District is pumping money into the building, which it hopes will be completed and open for school by August 2017.
“We’re under budget and we’re on schedule,” said Arif Fazil, district engineer of D’Huy Engineering Inc., one of the contractors working on the project.
Complicating construction efforts is the district’s desire to build a synthetic turf field between the Nitschmann and the currently-standing high school, Freedom High School.
The bids were open to contractors on March 24th and included items that the district would like to pursue but do not necessarily have the money for. If they get extra funds, the district hopes to use them toward those extra projects.
One project of particular interest to the district is adding terrazzo flooring, which they believe to be more durable than other kinds of flooring material. Flooring experts seem to agree that terrazzo is not only popular but also resilient and long-lasting.
“The school district engineers are correct in stating that terrazzo floors are more durable than other types of flooring,” says David Hadidian, Bay Shore Cleaning & Restoration. “Typically school flooring consists of vinyl tile which requires regular waxing in order to maintain a high shine finish. Terrazzo floors maintain their shine much longer in between scheduled maintenance. Terrazzo has become popular of late and will continue to become even more popular when people experience how durable it is. But just like any other type of flooring, Terrazzo does require intermittent maintenance in order to maintain a high gloss shine.”
To pay for the bids, the district intends to issue bonds as well as $5 million in district savings. In addition, the district received a $2 million grant in order to make the middle school a “Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design” gold-certified school and hopes to receive up to $3.5 million from the state of Pennsylvania (though board members aren’t sure if they’ll see any state money).
Regardless, the district is dedicated to finishing the project in time for the 2017-2018 school year. District officials are putting emphasis on the turf field, which would be used by the entire district rather than the middle school. In order to fund the project, the district is considering to remove the several solar panels it installed throughout the schools.