Mt. Laurel Schools BOE approves $25 million in bids for capital projects

Just some improvements include HVAC work, re-roofing, plumbing work and renovations needed for the new full-day kindergarten program.

The Mt. Laurel Schools Board of Education has approved about $25 million worth of bids from contractors to carry out capital projects across the district.

Officials describe the bids as “Phase One” of the capital projects outlined in the district’s $35.5 million referendum that voters approved in October.

The referendum included a variety of capital improvement projects for district sites, with Phase One projects including work such as replacing boilers and HVAC systems, asbestos abatement at Harrington Middle School, electrical work, plumbing and drainage work and more.

In addition, re-roofing projects are also set for Countryside Elementary School, Springville Elementary School, Hartford Upper Elementary School and Parkway Elementary School.

According to Superintendent George Rafferty, the district opened the bidding process on Feb. 14 at Harrington Middle School, with more than 30 contractors placing bids on the available projects.

Prior to this week’s approval by the BOE, Rafferty said the district had gone through an “extensive process” of reviewing those bids with the school business administrator, school architect and engineers.

Also included in approved projects were alterations or additions to implement the district’s full-day kindergarten program, which will begin in September.

This work includes additions or alterations at many of the district’s elementary buildings, including adding four classrooms at Fleetwood and three classrooms at Larchmont Elementary.

“It’s so we’ll be able to provide kindergarten in all our schools to the neighborhoods within those areas,” Rafferty said.

Rafferty also pointed to projects such as the installation of new LED lighting, as well as the new boilers and energy systems as ways for the district to save money in the future.

“We’re hoping to get a lot of return for our money there for the taxpayers in this regard,” he said.

With this week’s board approval of the projects, Rafferty said the district could continue to quickly move forward to work with the approved contractors and get the work started.

Rafferty said contractors can begin ordering their materials and supplies, and the district can begin scheduling meetings with the contractors and work out a schedule for the work to be completed.

“We hope to be able to get a lot of this work started soon,” Rafferty said.

Once the work for Phase One is completed, Rafferty said separate bids would be put out for “Phase Two” of the capital referendum project.

According to officials, much of the Phase Two work includes curbing, pavement and other exterior work, which the district did not want to start until the Phase One work was completed and the heavier construction vehicles needed for Phase One were removed.

The full list of bids the BOE approved at this week’s meeting can be viewed as an attachment to the meeting’s agenda on the district’s website at www.mtlaurelschools.org.