Warren Street to get new boilers

Scott Wolfe, CSArch project manager, gives a presentation on Warren Street Elementary School's boiler replacement project to the Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education Thursday night at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education on Thursday awarded a $126,843 bid to a Schenectady firm to replace two old boilers at Warren Street Elementary School.

The contract was awarded to RMB Mechanical Inc. at the board’s meeting at Johnstown High School. The bid was actually the second lowest received by the district, Albany-based CSArch Project Manager Scott Wolfe told the board.

CSArch is the firm designing the district’s current capital project.

Wolfe explained that the two boilers at Warren Street Elementary School mid-winter “started showing signs of failure.” He said they will now be scrapped. The 27-year-old main boiler experienced mechanical failure, rendered inoperable. Officials said the back-up boiler at the school is being used, although it is the same age. The board decided to fund replacement of both boilers.

He said the state Department of Education granted the district “emergency status” for replacement of the boilers. The district was granted permission to use funding from its current $39.6 million capital project to pay for the boilers project.

Wolfe said four bids were received back and opened on March 1. The lowest bid was from Collett Mechanical Inc. of Latham, which bid only $55,000. He said that raised some flags because the bid was so low. He said it was learned an honest mistake was made by the company.

Officials said Collett Mechanical Inc. made what appears to be an honest “omission of significant scope” from its bid, in an order of magnitude that couldn’t be financially recouped elsewhere. The firm withdrew its bid without penalty.

The board on Thursday night took dual-action – rejecting Collett’s bid and accepting RMB Mechanical’s bid. The school district administration, architect, and legal counsel were also directed to draft and execute necessary documents to commence construction on the project.

“We’re scheduled to meet with them as early as the next couple weeks,” Wolfe said of RMB Mechanical.

He said RMB should be a good vendor for the Johnstown district.

“We are working with these folks currently in other school districts,” Wolfe said.

Richard Peckham, executive principal/vice president of CSArch, told the board in January that CSArch can procure pre-manufactured boilers from a firm in South Carolina. He said they will be easy to install, arriving in Johnstown five to 10 days after being ordered.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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