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Hempfield Area High School renovation costs come in millions of dollars above estimates

Hempfield High School renovations on hold after revised project costs come in above estimates
Hempfield High School renovations on hold after revised project costs come in above estimates 02:20

HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) -- Renovations on Hempfield High School are on hold after revised project costs have soared over the original estimates.  

When it comes to the high school renovations at Hempfield Area School District, they are going to occur but due to increased cost for the project, the district is going to have to look over the program and see what, if anything, they can cut.

"I think it's ridiculous," said Phil Young.

"I know the cost of things is always unpredictable but I think there's always ways around it," said Amber Lucas. 

Those are some opinions from Hempfield Township taxpayers after the Hempfield Area School District announced bid totals for the new project came in at roughly $16 million more than anticipated. SitelogIQ is overseeing the project and they say the increased bid cost comes as a result of available labor and material costs. 

"That much of a percentage more blamed on labor and material shortages?" Young asked. 

Initial first estimates put construction costs in 2022 between $97 million to $110 million. That changed in June of this year with a new total being about $132 million and this week site SitelogIQ came back with a new total of $148 million to $150 million. 

District Superintendent Dr. Tammy Wolicki wasn't available for an interview but told KDKA-TV the new number may mean certain aspects of the project will be scaled back or cut. 

"Slight adjustments are OK as long as you're not completely removing a program," Lucas said.

Some of the changes could mean things like the swimming pool going from eight to six lanes, the scoreboard in the gym being smaller as well as seating for the school's sports arena being scaled back. 

"I think maybe they should have just torn it down and started over, that maybe that would have been a better answer, to build a brand new building than trying to piecemeal it," Young said.

District officials tell KDKA-TV the administration and school board will meet to look over what can be adjusted. This means construction will likely be delayed until spring of next year. The delay will have no impact on student schedules.

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