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Exeter awards $1.5 million bid to complete unfinished project

Former contractor failed to complete work at Owatin Creek Elementary School

EXETER TWP., Pa. - The Exeter Township School District awarded the site work contract for Owatin Creek Elementary School to Empire Services on Tuesday night in the base bid amount of $1,518,532.31.

The money was needed to effectively complete the original work at the elementary school that was either left incomplete or completed incorrectly by the former contractor.

Projects will include, but are not limited to, basics such as parking lots, lawns, grass, and fire lanes.

A representative from Stackhouse Bensinger Inc., a consulting company that works with the district, was present to answer questions the board had regarding the contract.

The board's primary concern was the high cost Empire Services was charging for the projects, but the representative from Stackhouse Bensinger explained that the increases were justified because of the liability that comes with fixing work another contractor did or neglected to do.

Board members also wanted to know what the consequences will be if the project was further delayed.

They were not advised of any concerns other than the potential deterioration of some materials and the fact that the board might need to review and renew permits.

"There's no question, the work needs to be done…Ultimately it's going to come down to litigation and getting our money back from the bonding company for the failure of the original contract," said Joseph Staub, board member.

The board unanimously approved the contract.

In other matters, the board revised the policy regarding eligibility for tuition reduction for non-resident students attending school at Exeter.

If the revision is approved, non-resident owners of businesses within the district that pay real estate taxes to the district would be eligible for a 50% tuition reduction for up to two children.

Board member, Carole Kutscher, expressed concerns that children who come into the district because of this revision could have difficulty being involved in the school community because of their non-resident status in the district.

Other members saw the revision as solely a benefit to the district.

"As long as the business is in the district, there's stability there and they're paying taxes, I don't see a problem," said David Bender, board vice president.

The second reading for the revision will occur at next month's board workshop meeting to be held August 12.

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