PENNCREST School Board is expected to vote today whether to approve a $1.6 million bid from Slippery Rock Commercial Roofing for the replacement of the roof at Maplewood Junior-Senior High School.
As discussed at the board’s work session on Monday, Slippery Rock’s $1,611,139.26 bid was the lowest of the eight bids received by the school district. The closest bids were from McCreary Roofing Company at $1,643,249.26 and Triangle Roofing at $1,777,303.26.
With the exception of a $1.9 million bid from Jamestown Roofing, all remaining bids were more than $2 million.
The school district has been in the process of replacing its roofs over the past couple of years. Replacements already have been done for Maplewood and Saegertown elementary schools, and more are planned for Saegertown Junior-Senior High School and both Cambridge schools.
The replacements are being paid through a series of bonds the district is taking out. Part of a $9.995 million bond the district took out in 2020 will go toward paying for the Maplewood roof replacement. Future projects will come through later bonds, assuming the school board approves them.
The bonds are also being used for a series of infrastructure projects at all district schools through the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA), a Pennsylvania law that allows a school district to waive some of the usual requirements for construction projects, such as seeking approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, in exchange for the company the school is working with guaranteeing the district will save money on energy costs due to the renovations.
PENNCREST in November approved borrowing up to $37.82 million across three sets of borrowing in order to pay for the roof replacements and the GESA projects. The school district is keen to do the borrowing now as interest rates reportedly are at historic lows. Short-term bond rates for the $9.995 million bond came as low as .47 percent, while the longer-term bonds were set at 2.3 percent. These rates were smaller than expected, and the district saved $1.2 million versus expectations thanks to the low rates.
However, the district is looking at possibly raising taxes in the future to pay for the roof and GESA projects. PENNCREST Business Manager Bryan Hobson has repeatedly recommended a 2.3 to 3 mill increase to the district’s millage rate over the next three years.
A mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 in a property’s assessed value. According to Hobson, raising the district’s millage rate by a single mill brings in around $280,000 in additional revenue.
Sean P. Ray can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.