With hiring project manager, GMUHS takes step to replace roof

By Stephen Seitz
©2016 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Green Mountain Union High School Board of Directors has selected BMA Architects & Planners of Manchester to oversee replacement of the high school’s roof.

Facilities manager Brendan McNamara told the board at its regular meeting on Thursday, Sept. 22, that he had received four bids.


Green Mountain’s Board of Directors has agreed to hire BMA Architects & Planners to manage the school roof replacement. Photos by Shawn Cunningham.

“Bids ranged from $12,500 to $64,000,” McNamara said. “After some discussion, we selected BMA … as the contractor we feel the most comfortable having. They’re asking $29,500. That’s a price-range we felt comfortable with.” He added that one deciding factor was that BMA also did the recent roof replacement for Chester-Andover Elementary School. “So, knowing they’ve done work for the district, we feel that’s the best fit for us here.”

Principal Tom Ferenc said it took about two years to get to this point. “We (had) … large companies come up here, looking at the roof and the structure. We were learning the whole time, and we feel that we have a good recommendation to make for the board. We’re not asking for the Mercedes, but we don’t want the Yugo. We feel this company’s right down the middle.”

McNamara told the board that  a project manager “covers the entire project: The design of the roof, writing the bids and RFP (Requests for Proposals) for the roof, permits, overseeing the entire project from start to finish.” Board chairwoman Alison DesLauriers added, that BMA in its bid also indicates it “create sets of plans that will have the detail and the specifications that will go into the RFP, so that the companies which bid on the roof can give you a good bid.”

McNamara said he asked BMA to provide as much information as possible.

“The one thing I stressed to BMA is to be sure that we look at any and all options that are out there,” he said. “I’m not saying we have to get the $10 million roof that self-melts the snow, but we at least want to have every option laid out so that five years down the road we don’t look back and say, ‘We missed something there.’ There are so many different coatings, textures and insulation options that go into a roof.”

Selecting the project manager is only the first step in the process, and the funds for this part will come from the capital fund. In a previous interview, McNamara said the total replacement costs could run from $750,000 to $2 million.

“The next step in the process is to get a bond approved by the voters,” DesLauriers said. “You’ve got to have a ‘not to exceed’ number to go to bond with. It’d be lovely to ask the state what’s in their coffers to help us out with this, but I know the answer to that already.”

Ferenc said he’d talked to the Burlington-based architectural firm of TruexCullins, which has previously done work on the school library.

“They said, ‘You’re talking about a roof, but you need to think about your entire building as a system,’ ” Ferenc said. “‘You have the roof, but you also have the windows, the heating ventilation and you’ve got electrical.’ There’s a drainage problem we’ll need to look at later, but the roof is the priority now.”

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About the Author: Steve Seitz is an author, journalist and film critic based in Springfield,VT. He has reported local news in the Upper Connecticut River Valley for many years. Steve has been interviewed on NPR's "The Story" for his knowledge of cinematic music. He also has interviewed such cinematic luminaries as James Earl Jones, Jerry Lewis, James Whitmore, Matthew Lewis ("Neville Longbottom" from the Harry Potter films), and an original cast member from every "Star Trek" series, among many others. He is working on other novels.

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