Amtran sprinkler project to begin

JC Orr low bidder for $223K work

A construction firm will soon begin a $223,000 sprinkler project for Amtran that will be more extensive, but less expensive, than originally thought.

JC Orr will install the fire protection piping in the authority’s bus garage and the driver’s lounge, which is in the same building, and also in the recently connected dispatch office next door.

The initial inflation-conscious estimate for the bus garage alone was $350,000, said consulting architect Greg Elliott of EADS in February.

But Orr submitted a low base bid of only $163,000, which led the board to accept not only that, but the company’s $33,000 “alternate” bid for the driver’s lounge — and then to work out a change order for another $27,000 to install the system in the dispatch building.

The original impetus for the project was a recommendation from Travelers Insurance, which has liability concerns for the buses, which cost $500,000 each.

After initial discussions, some employees wondered why the fire protection shouldn’t extend to the areas they occupy, thus adding further incentive to enlarge the project, according to Elliott.

Travelers recently re­­­viewed and approved the plans, and Orr has submitted an application to the city for a building permit, Elliott said Wednesday.

Once Orr receives the notice to proceed, it will have 90 days to finish.

Amtran also got a favorable price, though on a smaller project, with a $10,100 bid for sealing the many cracks on the auxiliary parking lot on the former Roaring River Mills property — along with some pothole work.

The pre-bid estimate was $25,000.

JW Fleming Inc. of Duncansville was the only bidder, despite contacts made with seven contractors, Elliott said.

None of the bigger firms were interested, Elliott said.

The pothole work will involve rectangular saw cuts, excavation to sub-base, then refilling of two spots, with less extensive cleaning and filling on some other problem areas, Elliott said.

Amtran has encountered the opposite situation with recent plans to landscape its campus, which is located on Fifth and Sixth avenues near Mansion Park.

Landscaping hasn’t been done since 2009, according to General Manager Eric Wolf.

Initial estimates were $40,000, then elements were added — including installation of a new sidewalk to make use of brick pavers stored on the property and installation of several benches — which led to expectations that the project could cost between $60,000 and $100,000, officials said.

But the low bid a few months ago came in at $117,000.

One of the factors that led to the high bids might have been the daunting paperwork that accompanies projects involving federal funding, Wolf said.

Since then, Elliott has been reworking his design to reduce the cost.

The goal is to bring the project down to $80,000 or less, Elliott said in April.

The project is likely to go to bid next month, Elliott said Wednesday.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038.


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