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Highlands gives more time to developer of former Heights Elementary property

| Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, 12:21 a.m.

The Highlands School District board on Monday agreed to give RBG Development an additional 45 days to secure permits for a CVS pharmacy planned for the former Heights Elementary School property.

The developer agreed to pay an additional $10,000 toward a nonrefundable security deposit as part of the sales agreement the district has in place to sell the school for $1 million, solicitor Ira Weiss said.

Among the permits needed are PennDOT's approval for traffic lights at the corner of Freeport Road and California Avenue and a building permit from Harrison Township.

A zoning change is also needed.

Library donation maintained

After some debate over halving its annual contribution to the Allegheny Valley Community Library, the board chose to keep the donation at $5,000.

When the school board approved its budget in June, the contribution was reduced to $2,500. Most board members were surprised on Monday to find that the amount had been cut.

Last week, library bookkeeper Judy Wisner questioned the board about the donation, so the board placed the item on Monday's agenda.

“Remember, every time you cut it, we lose RAD (Allegheny County Regional Asset District) money too, because it's based on what the district gives us,” she said Monday.

She added that “everyone has upped their ante” to help the library.

For years the board had given $10,000 to the library.

“A further reduction to $2,500 is another shot to a valuable community organization that has been taking a beating for the past five or 10 years,” said Jonathan Love.

The board voted 8-0, with one board member absent, in favor of the $5,000 donation.

Savings sought

The school district anticipates it can save about $7,000 a year by purchasing road and sidewalk salt through the state's cooperative purchasing program known as COSTARS.

Buying salt through COSTARS would cost about $54 a ton compared to $380 a ton through a third-party vendor, officials said.

The school board gave the go-ahead for the building and grounds department to solicit bids and begin work to build a salt storage area behind the district's maintenance building.

The estimated cost of the storage area, which consists of a concrete base, concrete block walls, and a tent-like canvas roof supported by steel framing, is about $15,000.

The district will officially ratify the contract in October.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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