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Architect says South Fayette district is ready for next step in school expansion

| Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

South Fayette school board officials received an update from its contracted architect regarding possible high school expansion options.

David Esposito of Eckles Architecture – with which the district entered a contract in February to study expansion ideas – said the district is ready for the next step, although no concrete plans have been made.

“We're ready to take the concept and shift into schematic design,” he said at the board's Aug. 19 meeting. “We have a good solution based on the information available from the demographic study. It is a plan that works great with the building.”

Superintendent Billie Rondinelli said the district is still in the feasibility stage and has not begun any designs or schematics.

“When that happens, I expect we would have the design up for everyone to see,” she said at the Aug. 26 board meeting.

Eckles has been contracted only to study expansion feasibility and options. The board approved the contract in February at a cost not to exceed $15,000. The board has not publicly released details on possible costs for the potential expansion.

The district has been considering expansion options that could add up to 47,000 square feet of space to the high school after a February demographic study showed the high school could hit its 800-student capacity in 2016.

Rondinelli said that the district saw 2,876 through the doors on the first day of school on Aug. 19 — about 50 more than a February demographic study had anticipated for this year. By Aug. 26, the total number of students was 2,890.

Rondinelli noted that the number will fluctuate throughout the school year, but generally more students will come into the district than will leave.

“It's clear the numbers from the demographer were conservative,” board president Len Fornella said.

Esposito said the firm generally charges a 6-percent commission for any new construction and 7 percent for renovations. He said the firm would be willing to do the entire project at 6 percent as a “thank you” for continued business. The Eckles Group was the architect for the district's intermediate school, which was completed last year.

He said a rough timeline in conjunction with construction company PJ Dick would include 10-12 months of design, 1-2 months of bidding and awarding and 14-16 months of construction, putting the completion date at around December 2016.

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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