Haddonfield BOE approves bonds for referendum, receives tentative timeline

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The Haddonfield Board of Education meeting and retreat last week saw the approval of bonds for the referendum at $35.3 million as well as an update on the referendum project from architect Steve Becica of Becica and Associates and Rob Notley of New Roads Construction.

The meeting began with the approval of a resolution authorizing the issuance and sale of bonds in the amount of $35.3 million. The Haddonfield BOE unanimously approved the resolution.

According to BOE President Glenn Moramarco, the interest rates came in lower than anticipated at about 2.62 percent, allowing the BOE to go from a 25-year bond referendum to a 20-year bond referendum.

“It is really good news. The interest rates came in much, much lower than anticipated. We were able to cut the bond from 25 years to 20 years and still come in at less than estimated over the 25-year,” Moramarco said.

Members of the board gave thanks to administrators who were able to find the lower interest rate and save money by doing so.

Becica and Notley then gave the board a brief overview of where they are, where they need to go and a preliminary timeline of construction for the bond referendum project.

“Just as a reminder. This is all preliminary and target dates,” Notley said.

So far the predesign work has been finished and now Becica and Notley are working on the schematic design, which they hope to complete by the end of August. The schematic designs take the concept drawings that were already made and add details and scope of work to them so New Roads Construction can help to figure out costs.

Once they receive feedback on the final schematic design documents and approval to go on to the next phase, work on the construction documents will begin. The hope is to have the approval in September and have all of the construction document work done by the end of December to be ready to advertise for bids in January.

According to Notley, advertising in January is “prime-time” as that is when there will be more competition and interest for projects, thus also better pricing. Bids are planned to open March 1 and a contract awarded a few weeks after that.

“We want to get these out to bid (in January) so we’ll get more competition. The more interest, the better pricing is going to be. If we wait until late spring, there is no way to get it done. The sooner we get this done (the better it is) from a market standpoint and we’ll be ready to mobilize and hit the ground running,” Notley said.

The plan is to have pretty much one large contract for the referendum, as to maximize referendum dollars and to minimize disruptions to the district. However, that is yet to be determined.

Becica and Notley hope to start work at the schools in June 2017 after school is out. Work that was discussed at the meeting included the high school cafeteria, stadium and track. Cafeteria work will take about 18 months, and it would be up to the administration to figure out what would be done for students during that time. Stadium work is planned to begin in June 2017 as well, and hopefully be completed by the end of 2017. Work on the track would start in the summer of 2018. Superintendent Richard Perry said many sports will most likely have to be off site.

The end date of substantial completion is planned for January 2019, Becica said.

The close out phase would probably go into the early spring of that year.

The preliminary timeline is planned to be put online for members of the public. For those who want more information on the bond referendum, the Haddonfield Public Schools District’s website is www.haddonfield.k12.nj.us and the referendum website is haddonfieldbondreferendum.com.