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Kiski Area awards drilling rights to Consol Energy

| Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, 1:56 a.m.

Kiski Area School District hopes to make some money from two of its schools.

The district could be paid as much as $100,000 a year for natural gas collected from underneath Kiski Area South Primary School, formerly Mamont Elementary, in Washington Township.

The school board Monday approved a five-year lease with Consol Energy. The company would collect natural gas from Marcellus shale about 7,000 feet under the school, which sits on about 24 acres, district Solicitor Ron Repak said.

No surface drilling would take place on district property. The company would drill into it horizontally from another location, Repak said.

District officials could not say how far a drilling rig would be from the school. Repak said the company has secured leases with other land owners in the vicinity of the school.

As part of the agreement, the district will receive a one-time signing fee of $36,600.

The district's royalty rate is 14.5 percent. That is expected to generate between $80,000 and $100,000 annually, Repak said.

It was not known when Consol will begin drilling in the area.

Up for auction

The district also hopes to make some money by selling Bell-Avon Elementary at a public auction.

The Bell Township school closed at the end of the 2012-13 school year. It is the first of three elementary schools the district intends to close as part of an elementary realignment.

To speed up the process, the school board gave district administrators the authority to enter into a contract with an auctioneer. The other option was to seek proposals from auctioneers, which would have required the school board to hold a special meeting to award a contract.

A minimum sales price, known as a reserve, will be set on the property. The amount will be determined by the auctioneer, Repak said.

A winning bidder will be required to pay $20,000 at the time their bid is accepted.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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