FLEMINGTON, NJ - The Flemington-Raritan Regional Board of Education unanimously voted to award a $6,031,720 contract for roof system replacements over the summer to Pravco Inc., out of Rahway, at its more recent meeting.

Three elementary schools – Barley Sheaf, Robert Hunter and Copper Hill – will receive partial or entire new roofs, before moving forward with HVAC upgrades at these buildings.

According to the board-approved resolution awarding this contract, Pravco placed the lowest bid out of seven total bids received for the project. Superintendent Dr. Kari McGann said Safeway Contracting, out of Kenilworth, placed the second lowest bid at $6,199,000.

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These roof replacements are being financed through the selling of bonds, as was previously authorized by the Flemington Borough and Raritan Township residents who visited the polls in November 2019.

The majority of voters supported a referendum with a number of capital improvements, including roof work at five of its schools, as part of two large projects estimated to cost more than $42 million in total. The taxpayers pay off the bond debt over a 20-year period, with the help of the state that has agreed to provide debt service aid in the amount of 40 percent of the final costs of the two projects.

According to information about the projects posted on the district’s website, the work will result in the removal of existing roof systems, drains and trim, and the installation of “new multi-layered built up roofs with new drainage systems, flashings and trim for watertight conditions.”

McGann said the roof replacement work is still on schedule to begin on June 24, like previously indicated back in January, despite the coronavirus pandemic, and the “buildings, as decided upon by the board, will be unoccupied for regular use during the summer construction.”

“The work scheduled for this summer means that substantial disruptions will occur at Barley Sheaf Elementary School, Robert Hunter and Copper Hill elementary schools,” a January parent newsletter said. “These schools will be closed for students and activities. The most extensive disruption will be to the Extended School Year programming that usually is held at Copper Hill Elementary School. The Extended School Year program will be moved to J.P. Case Middle School.”

Projects involving schools are considered “essential” construction projects under one of GOv. Phil Murphy’s latest executive order related to the health emergency, as opposed to other “non-essential” construction projects that are being put on hold to further restrict public gatherings and promote social distancing.  

The board did not discuss the resolution at the meeting prior to approval.

This roof work at these three elementary schools needs to be completed before the other two schools, in order to move forward with air quality upgrades.

“Francis A. Desmares and RFIS (Reading-Fleming Intermediate School) HVAC work and roof work can happen simultaneously at the same time,” McGann previously said in January. “These three (elementary) schools cannot, so their roof work has to happen first.”

This roof work needs to happen at these three schools, in order that their “rooftops will not be compromised,” when construction begins on air conditioning, according to the January parent newsletter.

Francis A. Desmares Elementary School and RFIS roof replacements will take place during the summer of 2021, in conjunction with HVAC work, the same newsletter stated. The resolution did not include these two schools as part of the awarded $6.03 million contract.

J.P. Case Middle School is the only school, as approved by the voters in the 2019 referendum, not receiving roof replacement work.