School Board Looking To Secure Steel Early For SDMS Expansion

NEWARK – The Worcester County Board of Education approved a steel bid for the addition at Stephen Decatur Middle School.

The school board approved a $718,642 steel bid for the addition planned for Stephen Decatur Middle School at a special meeting last week. While construction won’t even start until the fall, officials noted there was a delay associated with purchasing steel and wanted to expedite the process.

“We decided to bid only the steel package early,” said Joe Price, the school system’s facilities planner.

Price told the board construction documents were made available to bidders in May. At the June 17 bid opening, four bids were received. He recommended the board approve the low bid of $718, 642 from Crystal Steel Fabricators Inc. The board voted 5-0 to accept the bid.

Price said the rest of the bidding associated with the 25,000-square-foot addition would begin this month. Construction is expected to start in November. He said that by ordering the steel now, the school system should have it when it needs it.

“There is a price increase on steel and a six to eight month wait time,
he said. “We need the steel in February/March.”

He said the rest of the addition’s construction package would be bid as originally scheduled.

“There’s price increases across the board but nothing approaching a six to eight month wait,” he said. “We’re still planning on breaking ground in November. Hopefully the steel will be there when we need it.”

At Thursday’s special meeting the board also voted 5-0 to approve a 0% interest, four-year lease agreement with Apple for the purchase of MacBooks for staff across the school system (excluding Showell Elementary as a technology refresh is included in the capital project budget, and Worcester Technical High School). The agreement, using pricing through the Maryland Education Enterprise Consortium, totals $1,284,882.

“This includes one-time set-up and deployment costs, professional learning (training) as well as ongoing support provided through AppleCare+,” reads a summary in the meeting packet. “In addition, this agreement does not require any funding prior to August 15th, 2021, but enables technology infrastructure work, deployment, and teacher and staff professional learning to occur prior to a deployment in September 2021.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.