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In the midst of planning a proposed $84 million high school, Orchard Park School Board members have rehired an architect after operating since July without one.

Board members voted, 6-0, on Tuesday night to extend the district's contract with Gordon Jones Associates for three years. Board member Dennis O'Keefe was absent.

The board also agreed to turn over its scaled-back plans to the architect for additional work as the district aims for a December referendum on the project.

The issue turned sticky this summer after Gordon Jones Associates' contract expired June 30.

In July, board member Richard Jablonski had sought to have the architectural services bid out, noting that Gordon Jones Associates' new offer had major differences from the previous one, going from a four-page document to one nearly 20 pages long. At the time, he had alluded to something that could add $500,000 to Jones' contract.

But Tuesday night, the board agreed to extend the contract. There was no public discussion of cost figures or any criticism of the action.

However, school officials noted that the board reserves the right to change architects for any building project -- other than the proposed high school on Murphy Road.

Board President M. Donald Pritchard praised the contract and said he had no problem with its wording.

When questioned afterward about what the architectural firm would be paid under the contract, School Superintendent Charles L. Stoddart said the agreement contained no cost rate figures. He said work is done at the request of the district. Gordon Jones Associates has been the district's architect since 1981.


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