The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


November 4, 2012

Readers' Forum 11-4 | Writer questions project; board responds

— I am writing regarding a new elementary school that is being constructed.

I am a 2009 graduate of Conemaugh Valley High School. I was one of the fortunate ones who was able to find employment with a local company despite the economic downturn and high unemployment rate. I have been able, thus far, to start building a future in my hometown.

When I heard that my alma mater was going to build a new school, and the company that I work for was going to bid on this project, it made me feel proud that I may have a chance to work on a project where I spent my school years. But to my disappointment, I found out that my employer could not bid on this project due to criteria set forth in a project stabilization agreement.

It is very disturbing to know that this work will probably be done by a company from out of town and that taxpayers’ dollars will leave the area.

I feel this was a very unfair decision on the parties involved. It eliminated competitive prices to the school district and restricted the opportunity for companies to work in their local area.

Nicholas Gorzelsky


Editor’s note: We asked the Conemaugh Valley school board for response, which follows:

Criteria sets standards for building trades

The Conemaugh Valley School District is, in fact, engaged in constructing a new elementary school building. After many months of planning, one of the key decisions made by the district was to enter into a project stabilization agreement with the Johnstown Building and Construction Trades Council.

Since this building will cost in excess of $10 million, we felt it was prudent to make every effort to have highly skilled craftsmen on the project.

The district believes that this agreement will help ensure that this project can be completed on time and within budget.

The criteria set forth in this agreement is meant to identify contractors that meet certain levels of experience, skill and training for their affiliated craftsmen. The agreement also comes with a guarantee from the contractors and building trades craftsmen that provides standards for a safe, diverse, drug-free work force at our project.

There are numerous local companies that will meet the criteria set forth in this agreement. We fully expect that many local companies will be bidding on this project.

The district believes the competitive economic conditions and the abundance of highly skilled professionals in the region will result in a top-notch learning facility for our students and an asset that our community will be proud of.

Mike Vibostok

President, Conemaugh Valley School Board

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