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Wrightstown still has no contractor for Octagonal School roof


Efforts to help preserve a historic work of architecture in Wrightstown have hit another snag.

The township Board of Supervisors has been searching for a contractor to repair the roof at the Octagonal School, a structure built in the early 1800s that’s the only remaining octagonal-shaped school in Bucks County, according to a local history.

The township solicited bids from contractors over the summer, but decided to reject all of the ones it received. One key complicating factor was related to warranties offered for the upgrades to the roof.

Next, the township rebid the project in the hope of finding a firm that could have the roof renovation work completed by April 2024.

The township received only one bid — a $137,727 offer from Berlin NJ-based D.A. Nolt Inc. — that was nearly three times the cost estimated by the township engineer. Supervisor Chairman Chester Pogonowski said the engineer put the project in the $50,000-price range.

“The board decided this bid was too high and authorized the rejection of the bid,” Pogonowski said. “Wrightstown will rebid the project in 2024.”

The rejection vote occurred at Monday’s meeting of the board of supervisors.

While the renovations are needed, Pogonowski said the roof is not so bad that imminent collapse is feared.

“For now,” he said, “the roof is stable enough to last the winter without risking the building.”

The township plans to use funds it received from the COVID-era American Rescue Plan to help pay for a portion of the roof project.

According to a history from Wrightstown, the octagonal, sometimes called “ink bottle,” shape accounted for more than 100 schools in the Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

The first such eight-sided structure was built in 1773 in Oxford Valley.

The Wrightstown Octagonal School’s roots stretch back to 1802. The building served as a school until 1850. It became obsolete for that use as government became involved in education and township school districts formed.

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