The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 4, 2012

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

Submitted by Readers

— 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

Trojans staff recognized son’s gift

I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to Tony Penna Jr., Nate Harfield and the entire staff of the Greater Johnstown football program.

My son has a disability and wanted to use his gift for statistics and the love of sports to help a high school sporting program.

He approached two other local school districts, asking for a volunteer position, without any success.

Then Harfield recognized my son’s passion and approached Tony Penna Jr., asking if there was room on the staff for a volunteer statistics person. Penna was quick with a response, and my son has been assisting the Greater Johnstown football team this season.

The staff has welcomed my son as part of the Trojans football family, and my family and I are proud to sit in the bleachers and cheer for the players every Friday night. They are a team to be respected. My son comes home from every game and we talk about the heart and soul of the team and staff.

I cannot thank the staff enough for making a young man’s dream come true. They have made my son’s dream job a reality.

Throughout the week, my son will research the Trojans football program and share his results with the coaches and staff.

I could not have asked for a more caring and understanding high school sports program to help my son reach his dream.

Cindy Janak


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