School board studies construction criteria Recent delays have caused trouble

The Harford school board met last night in a special session to study ways to revise the criteria in awarding construction and renovation contracts for county public schools.

The special meeting comes on the heels of this year's delayed opening of Fallston Middle School, which caused students to miss the first two weeks of school, and the recent work stoppage on construction of Church Creek Elementary in Belcamp, already delayed by a year.


Dr. Percy V. Williams, president of the school board, said it would study comments received last night and take action later.

Presentations heard by the board included a proposed modification of the process currently used to prequalify construction contractors. The proposed modification would use a point system to identify contractors best suited for school construction.


Experience on prior projects of similar size and scope to a job put out for bid may be the most important factor and result in a higher rating than work on smaller projects, said Bruce Carminati, a member of the school system's Business Education Advisory Task Force with 33 years of construction experience.

Joseph Licata, supervisor of construction for Harford schools, also explained a plan to alter the schedule for construction projects.

By using a planning fund, he said, the design phase of a school project could begin six to nine months earlier than typically required to meet deadlines for county and state approval. That would mean an earlier start on securing permits and allow construction to start sooner.

Dr. Keech said the county administration is receptive to advance funding. Ronald R. Eaton, board vice president, said the concept is used successfully elsewhere.

School officials did not address last night the issue of the work stoppage at the Church Creek project Sept. 10 by the Baltimore-based Peter J. Scarpulla Contractors Inc.

H. A. Harris Co., which built Ring Factory Elementary in Bel Air, is expected to take over the Church Creek project, said Donald R. Morrison, a school system spokesman.