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Frontier tries to hasten remodeling

The Frontier School District is trying to fast-track the long-anticipated remodeling of the high school auditorium and preliminary work on the nearly $30 million capital project approved by voters in May.

"We need to get the ball rolling very quickly and get our ducks in order," Superintendent James C. Bodziak said of the district's $29.75 million building project.

Bodziak pitched the idea of a request-for-proposal process to move the project along. He also asked the School Board last week to give serious consideration to whether it wants to hire a clerk of the works or construction management firm for the capital project.

Board President Michael Comerford and Vice President Stanley Figiel said they favor a construction management firm.

"I would like much more information and costs on both [options]," board member Larry Albert said.

Board member Jack D. Chiappone, however, said he was adamantly opposed to paying a substantial fee -- which he said could amount to as much as $1.5 million -- to a construction management firm on the $30 million project.

"There are pros and cons. I have worked with both," said Bodziak, who recommended that the district speak with both construction management representatives and clerks of the works in person to get a solid feel for which option they prefer.

Bodziak said it is imperative for the district's Buildings and Grounds Committee to work closely with the administration as the project progresses.

The committee, headed by Figiel, intends to meet before the board's July 12 meeting to review the issue.

In a separate project, the district is moving forward on plans for the high school auditorium upgrade and new seating. The project is being financed from money left over from a previous $11.3 million capital project.

A partner in Young & Wright Architectural, the district's architect, told the board that the auditorium seating is currently before the state Education Department for review.

Shawn Wright of Young & Wright recommended that the district order the seats through a state contract to cut the length of the project by as many as six weeks.

"We could get it done in time for the holiday concerts," Wright said.

The auditorium currently has about 1,400 seats, but that number could be pared to 1,300 to 1,350, to accommodate wider seats and improve access for the disabled.

e-mail: krobinson@buffnews.com

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