Rendering

Renderings of the proposed aquatic center, including this image by Ava Zannoni of Kimmel Bogrette Architecture + Site, are available at www.peterstownship.com/488/Proposed-Rolling-Hills-Park-Aquatic-Cent.

A new aquatic center for Peters Township is on hold.

Township council voted Monday to reject the five bids received for the center’s construction because the amounts are higher than anticipated.

The low bidder, Rycon Construction Inc. of Pittsburgh’s Strip District, submitted a proposal for $11.482 million.

“Not included in this bid amount is the amount for earth moving that is being done in conjunction with the Rolling Hills Phase 1 project,” township manager Paul Lauer said. “The value of that work is $691,625.”

If figured into the low bid, the total cost would be $12.174 million.

Although plans call for the aquatic center is to be located within the park, which is under development on the former Rolling Hills Country Club property, the center’s construction represents a separate project.

Complicating the bidding process is the withdrawal of Vincent Pools Inc., a proposed subcontractor that provided pricing to four of the five contractors that submitted bids. In a letter to the township, company principal Christopher Vincent cited “a significant error in cost calculation” with a value of “close to $300,000.”

The aquatic center is proposed as having numerous features, including water slides and a lazy river, in addition to a swimming pool.

“The premise from our design team was to make this project pay for itself, have operating net income,” council member James Berquist said. “Their advice is the more amenities you have, the more opportunity you’ll have to attract people to use it.”

Although the township has invested in an operations study, research report and other tools to help ascertain the viability of an aquatic center, council member Monica Merrell suggested investigating the issue further.

“I feel that there might be some value in trying to figure out a way to survey the public again and really ask them what they want,” she said. “I continue to hear a lot of negative response to the design that was finally presented.”

Council member Frank Arcuri agreed.

“That’s all that I heard at the polls this past election,” he said. “People asked me a lot of questions about that.”

Another council member, Frank Kosir Jr., also addressed the possibility of more input from township residents.

“I think quite honestly we’ll have to have another public hearing on this,” he said.

Lauer and members of his staff are working to determine why bids on the aquatic center turned out to be so high.

“What I hope to be able to do at our next meeting is to give you a report on what we have found out in terms of the project and what it would take to bring the project back in line,” he told council.

The township also is pursuing grant money to offset construction costs.

“I would anticipate that by the end of June or the middle of July, we would have an idea of whether or not we would qualify for funding under the state’s capital budget,” Lauer said.

Detailed information about the project, including renderings, is available at www.peterstownship.com/488/Proposed-Rolling-Hills-Park-Aquatic-Cent.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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