Want to see proof that progress is being made on the ongoing construction project at Kearny High School? Just look out – or at – the windows.
Mark Bruscino, director of plant operations for the Board of Education, reported last week that 125 new windows have been installed at the high school and more are on the way from the manufacturer.
Hopefully, they’ll accomplish one of the goals school officials set out to achieve when it was first conceived and funded several years ago … to deaden the noise of the overhead planes enroute to and taking off from Newark Liberty International Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration, Port Authority of N.Y. & N.J. and state Department of Education are financing the project.
The BOE initially contracted with Brockwell & Carrington of Towaco to do the aircraft noise abatement job along with reconstruction work at the high school until both sides parted company in March 2013 and the BOE has been playing catch-up ever since with Paul Otto Building Co. of Cranford, as the new general contractor, in place.
Otto is being paid nearly $3.3 million to replace the windows at the high school’s North Building while, at the same time, the BOE is paying Architectural Windows and subsidiary firms $95,000, as part of a settlement of claims by certain of B&C’s subcontractors and suppliers “for work performed, materials and equipment supplied and costs arising from the termination of the noise abatement contract.”
Otto is also getting an additional $42,716 for the removal and replacement of 164 linear feet of existing stone sills and $22,792 for labor and materials to install 100 new temporary window blinds at all newly installed windows at the high school’s south and east elevations.
Meanwhile, Bruscino said the BOE this month is preparing to solicit bids for the big part of the high school project still remaining: renovations to the North Building that will result in 19 new classrooms, an enlarged cafeteria/culinary arts facility and twostory atrium, all of which will involve “all new mechanicals, duct work and a new steel addition.”
Bruscino said the expectation is that the job will be awarded to “a single prime contractor,” who will engage sub-contractors. “From the point of the award of the contract, we’re projecting a two-year construction period,” he said.
Consulting engineers redesigned the specifications to scale down the atrium’s height, from five to two stories, to save on construction costs by cutting out the need for what Bruscino characterized as additional mechanicals related to fire suppression.
BOE staff, working with consulting engineers, are trying to minimize costs while awaiting the outcome of an arbitration with B&C over work performed on the high school’s exterior façade and mediation on B&C’s lost profit claims stemming from the contractor’s “termination for convenience.”