PLATTSBURGH — Further developments have raised the total cost of the Webb Island Footbridge's reconstruction to $660,000.
The project's contractor, Luck Bros., notified the district last month that about 150 cross members, located underneath the bridge's decking, may need to be replaced, Plattsburgh City School District Assistant Superintendent for Business David Baroody told the Press-Republican Friday.
The district's architecture and engineering firm, Bernier, Carr & Associates (BCA) investigated this and agreed with Luck Bros.
Replacement of the cross members added about $150,000 to the project, Baroody said.
He explained that the district's three-pronged approach to covering that expense will involve directing contingency money within the reconstruction project, funds from the recently approved capital outlay project and contingency money from the district's overall capital improvement project toward the components' replacement.
Capital outlay funding refers to aid-eligible projects through the State Education Department which do not require voter approval, but cannot exceed $100,000.
In order to accommodate the initial overall cost of the reconstruction project, which exceeded the $450,000 collectively secured by Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) and Assemblyman D. Billy Jones (D-Plattsburgh), the district opted to effectively split it into two projects in the fall, one of which was eligible for capital outlay.
At the Board of Education's meeting Thursday, Baroody said the project will continue, weather-permitting, until complete in mid to late April.
Baroody told the board that the district received notice Wednesday from the Plattsburgh Municipal Lighting Department that the city would no longer pay for lighting on the foot bridge, since the district owns it.
Regardless, he told the board, they have to install a new meter — which will cost about $3,000 — due to the new construction.
"I am looking to confirm with the mayor’s office and the manager at MLD that the city is in fact not going to pay for lighting on the footbridge moving forward."
Baroody also planned to inquire about the average cost of lighting bills for the footbridge over the years.
The news set off a discussion to clarify the reasoning behind the meter and whether, indeed, lights were necessary.
"If the board elects not to have lights on the bridge, we do not need a meter," Baroody said.
He also noted that the original construction bid included lights, but told the Press-Republican that no additional lights were planned.
"The district has discussed multiple options in terms of keeping and utilizing the six existing light structures currently on the main bridge and at the Waterhouse Street entrance/exit," Baroody said.
"These considerations are ongoing."
The board voted to award Luck Bros. the second general construction contract for the project — the portion covered by capital outlay funding — in the amount of $93,000.
Board Member Ronald Marino gave the lone dissenting vote, as he did when the board awarded Luck Bros. the initial $425,065 contract in September.
Board Members Steve Krieg, Roderick Sherman and Amelia Goerlitz were not in attendance.
CONFIRMED WITH CITY
On Friday, Baroody said he had confirmed with the city that the district will no longer provide lighting on and/or near the entrances/exits of the footbridge.
"We will be discussing how to proceed with respect to this new information, moving forward."
Reached by the Press-Republican, City Mayor Colin Read said he had not personally received any requests from the school board for the city to donate electricity costs for lighting on the bridge.
"But I'd be happy to take such a formal request to the Common Council, and would support such a goodwill gesture."
When he received a request for the city to install new electric fixtures recently, Read said he encouraged the district to apply for the Independent Energy Efficiency Plan incentive program.
"I indicated that I felt their needs would be a high priority application as it fits within the guidelines for our subsidized upgrade program."
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