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ARTHUR NORDEN WAS one of three board members sworn in last week at a Sullivan West Board of Education meeting. This is Norden’s first term on the board. Also sworn in were Carol Nearing and Bill Erdman, both of whom were re-elected earlier this year.

Business Manager
Leaving, Too

By Jeanne Sager
JEFFERSONVILLE — July 19, 2002 – Work is moving ahead in the Sullivan West school district.
When the district opened bids last week for renovations to the Jeff-Youngsville and Delaware Valley campuses, they were about $800,000 over expectations.
But board of education members met Tuesday to review the bids, choosing alternate options in many of the proposals to draw down the cost of repairs on the two buildings.
According to Business Manager Betsy McKean, the awards made by the board during Tuesday’s meeting are $600,000 to $700,000 over the amount estimated by the engineers at the beginning of the process.
However, she noted, the funds are available in the district’s construction budget.
“We did not overexpend the voters’ allowed budget,” she noted.
The board voted to award bids to:
• Lilich Corporation for hazardous material abatement in the amount of $289,270. That bid was about $83,000 under the cost estimated by Turner Construction.
• Glomar Construction (the firm currently working on the district’s Narrowsburg campus) for general construction in the amount of $5.4 million. The district chose alternates within Glomar’s bid to reduce costs.
• Roofing contractor Agras Construction for $476,000.
• C.B. Strain and son for both the plumbing and HVAC contracts in the amounts of $590,000 and $2.5 million respectively.
• Napp Electric for electrical work on the buildings in the amount of $1.9 million.
Board member Arthur Norden cast the dissenting vote on the issue.
According to Norden, when you examine the values of the bids and the estimates determined by Turner Construction for the district, they are close to $1 million over budget.
He noted that the district’s construction consultants told him that they will be reviewing the work as it proceeds and comparing the contractor’s bids with a state-set schedule of values to try to help bring the costs down.
He questioned the feasibility of that action after a contract is already signed.
“What is their motivation to follow the schedule of values when they’ve already signed a contract?” he asked.
In addition, Norden noted, the contract which was the most above budget (approximately $400,000) was only bid by one contractor.
But according to Scott Bridie, Turner’s liaison to the board, the HVAC work has to be done in conjunction with the other projects. Going out for another bid would put all renovation work off indefinitely.
About 23 heating contractors were notified of the project, he said, but only C.B. Strain opted to bid on the renovations.
“I did not feel we needed to move forward and award someone $1 million more than our experts said it would cost,” Norden said. “That’s why I voted no.”
In other business:
The Sullivan West district has accepted the resignation of McKean, the business manager since the district was created in 1999.
McKean, a Cochecton resident, was originally in the business department of the Delaware Valley district and remained with the system after the merger.
Her decision to leave was not related to any problems in the Sullivan West district, McKean said.
“I’m sad to go,” she noted. “This is my district; my heart is here.
“But when I took the emotion out of it, this was the right choice.”
McKean will be heading to the Goshen Central School district.
The SW district will also be facing an emergency overhaul to its sewer system at the Delaware Valley campus.
In May some of the tests on effluent being released from the system failed. The district pumped the system to get through the school year, McKean said, and they have met with the Department of Environmental Conservation to work out a plan to correct the problem.
The system overhaul is not included in monies put aside for renovations of the building when the Sullivan West district was merged, McKean said, because at that point there was no problem with the septic.
The district does not yet have an estimated cost for the project.

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