Bids for renovation of the Mercer County Career Center came in 22 percent lower than estimated.

“You guys got great results,” architect Greer Hayden of HHSDR, Sharon, told members of the center’s joint operating committee at a work session Tuesday night to review the bids.

The projected total cost for the work at the center is $14.2 million. That’s about $3.25 million less than expected, Hayden said.

Hayden said officials worked hard to pare down the costs and had the benefit of a great market.

There were 39 total bids submitted for a different facets of the project, which right now includes costs of about $11.1 million for construction, $767,000 for design and engineering, $600,000 for contingency and a $1 million equipment allowance.

Low bids on the architects’ recommended alternate options are:

ä General construction — $4,744,100, Hudson Construction, Hermitage.

ä Heating, ventilation and air conditioning — $3,093,020, Scobell Co., Erie.

ä Plumbing — $709,228, Guys Mechanical Systems Inc., Rochester, Pa.

ä Electric — $1,972,877, R.E. Yates Electric, New Castle.

ä Food service equipment — $305,759, Commercial Appliance Contracts Inc., Grove City.

ä Tele/Data cabling — $259,000, MEI Systems Inc., Somerset, Pa.

ä Asbestos removal — $34,820, Medico Systems, Jefferson, Ohio.

There were seven bids for general construction, six for heating and air conditioning, five for plumbing, four for electric, five for food service equipment, eight for cabling and seven for asbestos removal (though two were received after the announced bid closing time and disqualified).

The total of the high bids is $13.9 million, about $275,000 above the low total.

The bids are good for 60 days, but Hayden said that if the committee waits that long it will push back the construction past when they would like to start.

The joint operating committee did not act on the bids at Tuesday’s meeting and may do so at their regular meeting later in the month, which is what Hayden suggested to keep the timeline as planned.

Committee President David DeForest, Sharpsville, said that the committee is the only board that has to take action to accept the bids.

Each district had to approve their share of the financial commitment, which is divided by the percentage of total market value held within each district’s borders.

Right now, it’s unclear if the project will proceed because Reynolds school directors have voted against financially supporting it.

When it was projected to cost $19 million, Reynolds school board members said it was too expensive.

They meet next week and could reconsider now that bids are in. Several members of the board were at Tuesday’s meeting.

West Middlesex school board President and committee member Tom Hubert said the committee could consider removing from construction a couple items, particularly ones Reynolds is concerned with that do not affect the education students will receive at the center.

Cutting the new entrance canopy and the lobby skylights out of the plan would bring the total down $132,000.

Hubert said he hopes that if Reynolds’ concerns, which he said are legitimate, are addressed that they’ll reconsider.

“The career center is consolidation of technical education,” Hubert said, adding that it serves as a model for future efforts at a time when such cooperation is called for by the taxpayers.

“If we can’t get this through, then what?” Hubert asked.

“Our job is to educate kids,” said Hubert, noting that the project has been in the works for seven years. “If you look around the building, it needs done … I would hate to have to start all over again. If we let this slip through our fingers now it’ll cost the taxpayers more down the road.”

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