Millersburg school discusses change orders

By Rob Wheary, Staff Writer • csrobwheary@gmail.com

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ROB WHEARY/Staff Photo Members of the Woodmen Life Chapter 721 of Millersburg presented the Millersburg Area School District with a number of classroom and display flags for use through the district, part of the organization’s community outreach program. Taking part of the presentation are, front row, from left, chapter president Sara Bender and secretary Faye Deibler; back row, superintendent Thomas Haupt, chapter auditor Galen Deibler and school board president Mark Rothermel.

MILLERSBURG – As construction begins to wrap up on the Millersburg School District’s renovation project in the high school and middle school, one change order had a director up in arms.
Board member Donald Harris asked several questions about change orders presented by engineer Craig Zimmerman at their meeting Sept. 26. One that caused a lengthy discussion was on the purchase and installation of a master clock in the middle school.
“We used to have a master clock that worked for both the middle school and high school,” Harris questioned. “Why is it different now?”
Zimmerman told the board that there was an installation of a new master clock at the high school, but it is not working with the bell system in the middle school. A temporary solution was put in place, but the master clock needed to be purchased.
“Why did we get a new clock that didn’t have the same functions of the old clock?” Harris asked. “The price isn’t bad, but with the financial issues we have and the scope of the project we need to look at this.”
That explanation did not sit well with other board members as a vote to approve the change order was defeated by a 3-5 vote with Harris, Bruce Kance, Ryan Novinger, Scott Roadcap, and Morgan Wagner voting no and J. Bruce Walter, Brett White and Mark Rothermel voting yes. Board member Margaret Lebo was absent.
The board will get more information on the matter and may revisit the motion next month.
At the end of the meeting, Harris spoke about revisiting a policy about district superintendent Thomas Haupt having the power to purchase additional equipment without any board approval.
Harris questioned the administrators making purchases of lighting control systems and water heater wraps.
“We need to look at that. I have no problem spending the money when it comes to the education of the students or in an emergency like a boiler goes down. This, in my opinion, is a change order or a change of the scope of the work that the engineer didn’t think was necessary during the design phase,” Harris said.
“It’s not a change order,” Haupt said. “It was a change in the scope of the work after consulting with the contractors with the engineer involved in the conversation.”
“I understand, but disagree,” Harris replied.
In other business:
— The board entered a contract with Dr. John Forney and the Family Practice Center, P.C. to provide physician services to the district at a rate of $10 per athletic exam and $100 for each football game.
However, Forney cannot attend the Sept. 30 game, so Pinnacle Health System will provide coverage at no cost to the district.
— Approval was given to continue giving district employees, volunteer coaches and employees of contracted cafeteria and student transportation services free admission into home athletic events, but not their guests or members of the school board.
— Millersburg will purchase a John Deere utility tractor from Valley Ag and Turf at a net price not to exceed $23,168. On July 20, the board voted to purchase a different tractor from a different supplier, but the supplier said they learned the model was exhibiting problems and recommended against making the purchase.
The price comes after the district will trade in two other tractors for a total trade-in value of $19,000.

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