LCMR awards $12M. contract for addition


By RICHARD DEGENER Staff Writer, (609) 463-6711, E-Mail

LOWER TOWNSHIP - Lower Cape May Regional on Tuesday selected a general contractor to build the new addition at the high school designed by Garrison Architects of Mt. Laurel and work is set to commence in a matter of days.

The firm Arthur Anderson Inc., of Vineland, was the unanimous choice of the Board of Education and will receive a base contract of $12,043,200. The board also opted for some additional work including extra parking and landscaping as well as changes to the boiler and auditorium stage. This brought the contract to Arthur Anderson, the lowest of four bidders, up to $12,225,490.

The job includes a 49,667-square-foot addition as well as renovating 24,381 square feet of existing space. Superintendent Richard Strauss said the work is projected to take three years, but he is hoping it can be done quicker.

"We're shooting for the end of the 2004-2005 school year," Strauss said.

The board also announced a groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the school. The public is invited. Free calculators and key chains will be handed out.

The board did not include a new softball field along Route 9 in the plans. The existing field is making way for the addition and there was hope a new field could be built.

Business Administrator Jack Pfizenmayer said this could be added in the future, but the site for the field needs environmental approvals due to freshwater wetlands in the area.

"There is a wetlands delineation that needs to be done if we push that field closer to Route 9. The hope is that will be added, but it is not part of this bid," Pfizenmayer said.

The school is considering moving softball to fields at the Richard M. Teitelman junior high or to other fields in the township.

The centerpiece of the new addition is a 1,200-seat auditorium designed by Garrison Architects of Mount Laurel.

"I see the auditorium as a stage for the entire community for cultural activities," Strauss said.

Once this is built, the old auditorium can be renovated for other uses. It also contains asbestos that must be removed. The project also includes a new gym, seven new classrooms, a new hallway to ease overcrowding and added space for the library and cafeteria.

When the school opened in 1960 to serve Lower Township, Cape May and West Cape May, it was designed for 800 students. Enrollment now is about 1,200.

Earlier this year, voters approved the $14.9 million project. The contract for the high school work is part only part of it. Other funds went for work at Teitelman School and fees for professional services, including the architects. Residents in the three towns will pay $10.8 million of the costs while the state is kicking in $4.1 million.

The base bid from Arthur Anderson was the lowest of four, coming in $2,896,800 lower than the highest bid.

































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