BY MICHAEL J. RUDOLF
The Elk Lake School District gave the go-ahead Tuesday to solicit bids for expansion of the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center.
The board received word that the most recent planning module for the project was approved by the state Department of Transportation. It then voted to submit the next module, which are actual construction documents.
According to Superintendent William Bush, with the submission of these plans, the district gets the authorization to seek construction bids for the estimated $8.6 million project.
Bush said the bids will be advertised on Sept. 30, and will be due back in the district on Oct. 28.
Bush did not state when the board would vote on bids that are received. The next board meeting after the receipt of bids is scheduled for Nov. 17.
At previous meetings, Bush had explained that in order for a school district to be eligible for state reimbursement on construction projects, it must prepare and submit a series of 11 planning construction modules over the course of many months.
The most definitive phase of the process comes will be the next one, where the school district actually receives the construction bids. That’s when where the board must make a final decision whether to actually build the project, or reject the bids.
On Wednesday, board President Chuck Place said by advertising for bids at this time, the school district has not committed itself to going through with the project. He said that if the bids are unrealistically high, the board could reject them entirely, or it could choose to scale back the project.
Asked if cutting back on the scope of the expansion would require going back to square one in the planning process, Bush said he did not think it would. He said the board might be able to submit amended plans for approval and cut down the timeline.
Board member Matt Curley pointed out that if the district goes with a reduced project, it could impact the percentage of state reimbursement the district would get.