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Township & Board of Ed Partner to Save Taxpayers Money

Posted: January 3, 2019

A new water main has been installed at Shongum Elementary School, replacing an antiquated, 50-year-old water main buried deep under the parking lot that has in recent years leaked repeatedly, disrupting traffic at the school. The water main has been patched with increasing frequency. Randolph Township and the Randolph Township Board of Education have partnered together to not only advance the timeframe of the project, but also greatly reduce the cost.

The water main project was initially planned as part of the 2019-2020 district capital projects, but due to the town’s assistance, the project is occurring now, with the only cost being the materials. This allows the district to put the savings towards other critical projects such as roof repairs at Shongum Elementary School. The new water main utilizes a more streamlined route to the school, eliminating having to tear up the parking lot for repairs and it includes a new fire hydrant to serve the school and the surrounding neighbors. The project will be completed in January.

“Since we had not bid the project yet, we estimate that having the town’s assistance on this will save between $100,000 and $150,000 that a contractor would have charged for labor,” said Gerry Eckert, school business administrator, Randolph Township Schools.

“We tried to come up with other solutions to make it more cost effective and less intrusive,” said Ralph Carchia, engineering administrator, Township of Randolph and project manager. “We were able to use the easement behind Cushing Court to install to the back of the building which is a more direct, shorter connection.” The main is also a larger six inch main as opposed to the existing four inch, allowing for greater water flow. Additionally, the new line will make maintenance much easier if it is ever needed.

The partnership between the Township of Randolph and the school district is a long-standing relationship that has contributed to many projects that have positively impacted the town and the schools and saved the taxpayers money.

“We share the same goal, and one constituency even though we are two separate entities. So, wherever there is an avenue for us to work together, and where the price can be brought down, we look to work together,” said Stephen Mountain, town manager, Randolph Township.

Through quarterly liaison meetings, representatives from the township and the school district are able to come together and discuss pending and potential projects. The township manager, mayor/deputy mayor, police chief, superintendent of schools, school district administrator and board of education leadership come together at these meetings to talk about the opportunities for synergies, to share services and work together, as well as projects they are involved in in their respective areas of which the other agency should be aware.

“In doing this water main as a joint effort, we were able to work together and have the board of ed purchase the materials, the town provided excavation and the crew to install the pipe, and district grounds keepers helped assist to fill everything in along the way,” said Andy Hurd, director of facilities, Randolph Township Schools. “As a team, we were able to realize that at a fraction of what it would have cost to replace the main with an outside contractor.”

Examples of past projects the town and district have partnered on include a fiber optic installation line for Randolph Township Schools, ongoing department of public works support for the district, security (including ALICE training, reunification drills, cameras), and fields/recreation department. Projects currently under discussion include some lighting projects for which the district may be able to provide labor to the town.