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December 21, 2012

Caston OKs bids for $2M construction project

Work on bus garage could begin in spring; parking lots, inside work likely to happen over summer.

FULTON — Caston board members Tuesday night approved bids for a two-part, $2 million construction project expected to begin this spring.

Both portions of the project should be finished by next fall, according to Superintendent Dan Foster, but one contract was awarded for site work and another for construction and renovation to be done mainly on the inside of the school.

Phend and Brown Inc., based in Milford, was awarded the site work contract. The firm had bid $583,507, but since the school board is planning to tweak some of the project specifications, Foster said, that amount is estimated to drop about $18,000 to $20,000.

The construction contract was awarded to Michiana Contracting out of Plymouth. Again, the original bid amount was $1.44 million, but the board intends to remove some roof work from the project specifications, so that amount is likely to shrink a little.

The site work will include renovations of the school’s parking areas and outside lighting.

“Basically we’re tearing up all our parking lots,” Foster said, which are in “really poor condition.” Contractors will also improve drainage beneath the parking lots to help the lots last longer.

Improved lighting in the north lot, where most students park, and a new concrete pathway to the visitors’ bleachers at the football field are also in the works.

Inside construction was bid to include all the inside work the board felt was needed immediately, including a top-down renovation of the high school gymnasium, new carpeting in several elementary classrooms and new classroom doors throughout much of the school campus.

The board also decided on building a two-bay bus garage tall enough to have a lift installed to allow mechanics to work on buses inside. The current garage, said Foster, isn’t quite tall enough to fit buses without letting air out of the tires.

While the construction contract specifications included work on the school’s roof, the board determined that replacing portions of the roof wasn’t as pressing as once thought.

“We’ve had three or four contractors look at our roof, and even though they’re out of warranty, they felt that the roof sections we were looking at were actually in pretty good shape,” said Foster. Some less extensive roof maintenance is still included in the project.

Some exterior work, including building the bus garage, may start in the spring, but much of the construction will have to wait until school lets out for the summer, Foster said.

“It will hamper a few of our athletic teams this summer, without having access to the main gymnasium for a few weeks,” he said, so the board will plan for that in the coming months.

But after discussing priorities and funding since at least February, Foster is glad to get the work under way.

“We’re excited to finally be this close to seeing some action now,” he said.

Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at sarah.einselen@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5151.

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