BY ANN GENADER

Renovation of the West Milford High School auditorium is to begin in April 2017 when the district schools are closed for the annual spring break. School officials expect the work to be completed in August 2017 in time for the opening of the 2017-18 school year.

The West Milford Board of Education awarded a job contract to Northeastern Interior Services of Paterson.

The company – with a price of $836,000 - was the lowest bidder.

The board also authorized a contract to Two Brothers, of Totowa, for the removal of asbestos floor tiles in the auditorium in an amount not to exceed $24,800.

Both contracts were with the recommendation of the Superintendent Of Schools, Alex Anemone.

Board President James Foody was extremely pleased with the job price.

“It is a savings of about $300,000 from what we expected to pay,” Foody said. The district had budgeted about $1.6 million for the project initially.

The school board on Aug. 23 approved an agreement with Di Cara/Rubino Architects of Wayne to prepare construction contracts and associated documents for the renovation project at a cost of $112,000. Earlier the firm was hired to prepare renovation plans for required state approval at a cost not to exceed $48,000.

When the board prepared the budget the trustees managed to keep the tax increase at $7 for the year one of the things cut was a HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) for the project.

The HVAC estimate was $400,000. Business administrator Barbara Francisco said at the time that the HVAC might never be needed because there could be repairs made to the existing system.

The rest of the first phase of the auditorium project moving forward involves seating, ceiling and house lighting replacements, installation of new flooring, wall treatments and acoustic panels.

The savings allowed the board to approve two additions to the base contract. These include providing additional storage in the auditorium walls and replacement of the stage curtain and valance.

Although an improved sound system is not part of the project cables will be routed for an upgrade in the future.

Roof replacements on the high school and middle school – approved by voters in a Dec. 2015 referendum – were completed during the past summer.