Freeport school costs might rise to meet township, PennDOT standards
The cost of Freeport Area School District's new middle school could increase by as much as $1.5 million and the building's completion could be delayed a year because the district needs to meet Buffalo Township's stormwater runoff and parking requirements.
The district also must upgrade two intersections on South Pike Road/Route 356 in front of the school campus to PennDOT specifications.
District architect HHSDR Architects Engineers is submitting revised plans to the township that they believe will meet the spirit of their requirements without pushing the district further into debt on the $30 million project.
“We want to work with the township, and we want to get this on schedule,” said school board President Dan Lucovich. “The delays will only cost the taxpayers more money.”
Architect Greer Hayden outlined several options for parking and stormwater runoff control to school board members on Tuesday during a project progress update.
The worst-case scenario would mean delaying opening the school until fall 2016, if the district is required to replace a storm sewer culvert under Monroe Road. The culvert doesn't meet township requirements, based on the site's projected runoff amounts.
Hayden said HHSDR believes it came up with solutions that would keep the project on track and the opening of the school in September 2015.
However, progress hinges on whether Buffalo Township approves a revised parking plan and the firm can develop a stormwater management plan that meets its requirements.
Buffalo Township feels there is inadequate parking at the school campus, which will include the new middle school, high school, administration building and athletic fields.
The district's original design called for 350 spaces around the new school with no modification to about 200 spaces around the high school and administration building.
There are two ways the district can calculate parking usage based on the township's zoning requirements: maximum occupancy, which includes all students and staff; or peak usage, such as during arrival and dismissal and evening school events, Hayden said.
The first scenario would require 1,365 spaces, which is well beyond what school officials believe is needed even if there were simultaneous sporting events and a performance in the auditorium.
The new design, based on peak usage, would add an about 150 spaces through parking areas at the administration and maintenance buildings and around the high school.
The township supervisors may consider the parking plan Feb. 26.
“It seemed like it would be acceptable to the township engineer,” Hayden said.
If it's not approved, it could push the project construction past September 2015, meaning a mid-year opening for the middle school.
The capacity of the stormwater culvert under Monroe Road to which the school campus' runoff drains doesn't meet the township's requirement for a “25-year storm,” a very rare, severe storm.
The middle school design, which includes two stormwater retention ponds, reduces the flow of runoff, but not enough to meet the township code.
The township is requiring the district to replace the culvert so that it can handle more runoff, Hayden said. That could cost about $150,000 and put the district a year behind in opening the school.
Replacing the pipe would also mean releasing more water. That would require a joint agreement between PennDOT and the state Department of Environmental Protection and releases from the property owners to accept more runoff.
HHSDR's solution is to build a third stormwater retention pond to control the flow of runoff from an approximately 20-acre parcel of vacant land next to the middle school site.
“If we can control this water so we can reduce the flow to the existing pipe, we can avoid all that, because I'm not sure we can get the releases from the property owners,” Hayden said. “That might be a way to avoid replacing the pipe and satisfying the township ordinance.”
About $700,000 of improvements are needed to the Silverview Drive and Cole Road entrances to the campus off Route 356.
District officials expected to be required to make improvements there, but until meetings with PennDOT and the township, the extent of the improvements wasn't known.
Alterations include a right-turning lane from Route 356 onto Cole Road and a left-turning lane from Route 356 to Silverview.
“Every one of these intersections require some type of improvement now,” Hayden said. “The fact that PennDOT (said) that we're making a bad situation worse, that's why we're required to do these improvements.”
Additionally, the district revised its plans for a new road between the campus and Monroe Road near Sheetz.
They'd hope to make it two-way, but faced with having to create right-turn lanes into and out of Monroe Road at Route 356, they opted to restrict the district driveway at Monroe to an exit only.
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Boscov’s could help sustain decade-old Pittsburgh Mills
- Entertainment attractions going strong in Pittsburgh Mills mall
- Turbine touted as ‘green’ to power historic Penn Township barn
- West Deer burglary suspect arrested
- Arnold family back home after gas leak
- Kiski Area students reach out to community for Global Youth Service Day
- Retired New Kensington attorney Robert McVey spent life helping people
- Bridge replacement projects set to start in Fawn, O’Hara
- New Ken-Arnold School Board appears to have violated Sunshine Law
- Mia Z voices no regrets after failing to advance on NBC show
- Washington Township awards $244,000 street-paving contract