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Vandergrift Council hears update on Vandergrift Elementary School renovation, OKs addition to sewer-separation project

| Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Vandergrift Council on Monday was updated on a couple of construction projects that are in the works.

First, Kiski Area School District Superintendent John Meighan and representatives from architectural firm Canzian/Johnston & Associates presented tentative plans for the renovation of Vandergrift Elementary School.

The project — which will include remodeling, a kitchen expansion and a reconfiguration of the school's auditorium and cafeteria area — is part of the district's $30 million elementary schools project.

“These renovations are going to make the building more viable,” Meighan said. “It's a real boon for the whole town.”

Meighan and architects Jay Johnston and Heather Werkeiser primarily discussed with council the planned changes to parking and student drop-off areas.

Although the number of children attending the renovated school isn't expected to change, the school will be pulling students from more areas.

That's expected to increase the number of buses coming to the school each day from four to as many as 10, Johnston said.

Werkeiser said they plan to direct the buses to the current parking lot off Harrison Avenue.

The lot will have limited use for staff parking, but will largely be dedicated to the buses to keep them from stacking on nearby streets. That's been a concern raised by council members.

Johnston said they plan to have parents drop off students on the Monroe Avenue side of the building.

The architects said they want to keep parent vehicles and buses separate as much as possible for safety reasons.

Johnston said they hope to have enough money to reconfigure the Monroe parking and parent drop-off area.

If there isn't enough money, Meighan said they may ask council to consider changing the direction of one-way Monroe, which lets traffic flow toward Franklin Avenue.

Meighan said they feel it would be safer if traffic flowed toward Hancock because parents could let children off at the curb alongside the school rather than across the street.

Council President Brian Carricato said he'd have the public safety committee spearheaded by Councilman Frank “Beans” Moliterno review the request.

Meighan said construction should occur during next school year. Students likely will attend Washington Elementary School while construction is under way.

Sewer separation project

Council also approved an $8,000 change order for the installation of an additional 70 feet of pipe and protective steel casing for the sewer-separation project. The project is being funded through a $4.2 million PennVEST grant.

Michael Bove of Bove Engineering said the contract already includes 110 feet of pipe and casing near the railroad tracks, but the additional length was requested by ATI-Allegheny Ludlum to give the company leeway for possible use of the unused rail line.

Bove said the company may use the rail spur for shipping.

The change order would ensure any sewage pipes in the area have the steel casing that would protect the pipes in the event of rail cars and other heavy equipment passing above them.

Bove said the $8,000 should be covered by the overall project's contingency fund. But in case it's not, council approved the change order with the stipulation that Bove get a letter of guarantee from Ludlum that the company would pay for associated costs not covered.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

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