$13 million construction project begins in earnest at Acmetonia Primary in Harmar
Although the Acmetonia Primary Center building project just began, the Allegheny Valley School District has already saved some money on it.
Project manager Dave Parker told the school board Monday that a fire pump will not be needed.
Parker said the pump, which was to be used to boost water pressure to the building in the event of a fire, isn't needed because a pressure test done on waterlines leading to the building showed there is sufficient pressure to handle firefighting demands.
As a result, the district will save the cost of the pump, which was about $32,000.
The school directors broke ground for the $13 million project Sept. 18. There will be a lot more earthwork noticeable in the next few weeks as crews prepare the site for construction, Parker said.
District spokeswoman Jan Zastawniak said work on the foundations is under way; next will come the gymnasium and then the classroom addition.
“The staff and students are excited that the project's here and it's starting,” Zastawniak said. “I think that they are prepared with the understanding that they have to remain flexible.”
She said the last major project at Acmetonia was finished in 2006, so some employees have been through the procedures before.
The additions that make up the expansion of Acmetonia, which has been housing kindergarten through third-graders include:
• The addition of 16 classrooms, with four for each of Colfax's three grade levels and two rooms each for special education and special uses such as reading and math enrichment;
• Expansion of the school's gymnasium and stage area;
• Four classrooms in the courtyard, two music rooms (vocal and instrumental) and two technology rooms (STEAM and computer).
Other upgrades include renovations to the school's kitchen and cafeteria and additional parking, Zastawniak said.
“We're going to be adding three grade levels, so that's additional students and staff, so we will need additional parking here,” Zastawniak said. “The parking area out front will be redesigned to allow for better drop-off and pick-up of students for parents, and also for parking for the regular school day and for events.”
Zastawniak said the project will be done by next August, which will enable the district to move fourth- through sixth-grade students from Colfax Upper Elementary School for the start of the 2018-19 school year.
The decision to close Colfax earlier this year ended a debate about the school's future that had been ongoing for years.
No decision has been made on what will happen to that building.
“That discussion's continuing,” Zastawniak said.
Tom Yerace is a freelance writer. Staff writer Madasyn Czebiniak contributed to this report.