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Freeport school board discussess options for building

| Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, 12:22 a.m.

Freeport Area School Board members played Tetris with the proposed site location for the new middle school.

At a special meeting Wednesday night, architect and engineering firm HHSDR presented the board with a suggested building and site plan.

But not all board members were happy with the placement of the new school, directly behind the current senior high school off Route 356 (South Pike Road).

District officials are closing the Freeport Junior High School building and the Freeport Kindergarten Center, both in Freeport, and will build a new school housing grades six through eight behind the current high school.

The building will cost $30 million.

“We like what the building looks like,” said President Daniel P. Lucovich. “We just don't like the location.”

He also expressed concern with the traffic congestion that could be caused by placing the middle school so close to the high school.

J. Greer Hayden, president of HHSDR, pointed out that the problem with moving the school farther away is that the building would have to be located across a small tributary and ditch on the district property.

That could cost more money.

“We're got a lot of property we can't do anything with,” Director Mark A. Shoaf said.

He suggested flipping the position of the proposed middle school so that it parallels the high school or moving it farther into the corner of the district's property. That could open up space for a new high school building as well as reduce traffic congestion.

Hayden said the district will need to decide on a site soon so that they can secure permits from the township, the conservation district and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Based on a tentative time line, the district will start construction in April 2015 and open the school in September 2015.

New stage planned

The board agreed to move ahead with renovations to the high school stage's rigging, which will cost about $110,000.

Because safety is a concern, work on the stage will proceed starting in February, and will hopefully be completed by the Spring musical.

Manager's job in question

The board also voted 6-1 not to automatically renew Business Manager William Reilly's employment agreement with the district when it ends June 30, 2013.

John A. Marty was absent, Michael J. Huth abstained and Susan F. Lowers voted no.

Lucovich refused to explain the reasoning behind the decision.

“We do not comment on personnel,” he said.

Reilly had no comment on the vote. He simply shrugged his shoulders.

He has been with the district for 39 years.

Kate Wilcox is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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