Chartiers Valley selects IKM as architect for district projects

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Chartiers Valley school directors voted 8-1 Tuesday night to appoint IKM Inc. as district architects for an upcoming project, which has not been identified.

Board member Julie Murphy dissented.

“The district is looking into a new or renovated high school/middle school complex,” said Nick Morelli, director of finance for the district. He did not specify a construction or renovation project.

IKM Inc., based in PPG Place, Downtown, will charge the district a fee of 5 percent of the cost for new construction projects and 5.5 percent for renovations. The final contract is subject to approval by the district’s solicitor.

In addition to the IKM proposal, the board considered a proposal from VEBH Architects of Mt. Lebanon. VEBH proposed a fee of 5.25 percent for new construction and 6.25 percent for renovations. IKM’s portfolio includes health care, higher education, corporate, transportation and civic facilities.

“We have two qualified firms,” said board member Jamie Stevenson. He added that the district’s business office did “a good job vetting” the proposals. “We’re in a no-lose situation,” he said.

Ms. Murphy said she wished the district wasn’t the first one to work with IKM.

“This is a school. It’s not a museum,” she said before she cast her vote.

Board member Tony Mazzarini said the district was “blessed to have both of these firms bidding.” He added he’s seen many buildings designed by both firms.

“VEBH has a lot of experience in our community,” Mr. Mazzarini said. “It’s awesome and it all looks like Western Pennsylvania,” he said of VEBH’s designs. “IKM is Western Pennsylvania with a future-thinking type of design,” Mr. Mazzarini said.

In other business, the board hired these new staff members:

• Susan Marino, middle school and high school science curriculum leader. She teaches physics at the high school and will continue with that role as well as help align the district’s curriculum to state standards.

• Amy Bouch, high school English teacher. She most recently was a reading specialist intern in the Allegheny Valley School District. Ms. Bouch is pursuing a master’s degree in reading education from the University of Pittsburgh.

• Jenna Gordon, math instructional practitioner. She had taught algebra as a student teacher at Cambridge Springs High School in Cambridge Springs and holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Edinboro University.

Deana Carpenter, freelance writer:

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