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Another hurdle for new high school

Posted on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 10:11 am

Hiccup with DEQ permits delay high school construction

Many hurdles have been hopped over with regards to the construction of the new high school for Westmoreland County’s public schools, but plenty more remain to be jumped. At a facility update at a recent school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Michael Perry went into detail on what was gumming up the works.
“One of the things that has kept us from seeing more construction equipment out there is some confusion with the DEQ permit,” Dr. Perry explained.
“We’re trying to understand exactly what happened, but it seems that DEQ representatives came down last week, and were met with local representatives. They started asking questions, and the people there could not answer them. There were no reps from Grimm & Parker or Branch Builds, and the DEQ people got confused.
“DEQ asked a question about the erosion basins. When we value-engineered, we originally had 2 phases for those erosion basins. Each was supposed to be a certain height for initial runoff, and during the construction they were going to do something else. During value engineering, we decided to do it one time; at the very beginning, they’d make those basins big enough to capture everything that would come out of the site. But DEQ asked some questions, and were not answered.”
The result of this miscommunication is that the DEQ permits have been held up due to thinking that the runoff basin had been changed up and not reported, spooking them into thinking that there was a lot more going on.
Dr. Perry indicated that talks with DEQ were getting things ironed out.
“There have been a lot of conversations in the last few days on that subject,” he continued, “and it’s clear that the changes that were made will not keep us from getting the permit, because no erosion control measures have been eliminated from the previously approved plans. The changes to the approved plans consist solely of sizing and constructing the sediment basins to include the full size required for Phase 1 and 2.”
At this point, it is expected that DEQ will release the permits inside of a week, with Dr. Perry explaining that “While there was a lot of confusion, we got it sorted out. We should see some more action on it this week, because they’re mobilizing to do what they need to do.”
It’s still unknown why representatives from Grimm & Parker or Branch Builds were not on site, but Dr. Perry speculates that it was likely due to the project still being a relatively recent undertaking.