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Penn-Trafford directors decide on renovations

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 8:44 p.m.

Penn-Trafford school directors decided on a high school renovation plan to the tune of up to $32 million.

Many directors said that while wish list items didn't make the final cut, they were pleased with the proposed project's parameters while staying within the district's financial means.

“We can do this work with that money without increasing taxes,” said director Dallas Leonard after making a motion to embark on the project that the board unanimously approved Monday. “Every one of us wanted something a little more, a little different, a little better.”

Renovations will include updated heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, additional science labs and auditorium upgrades, according to recommendations from administrators presented at a previous meeting. The last major renovation of the 40-year-old building was in 1996.

In November, directors voted to borrow $9.5 million for the project. A moratorium has been placed on the Department of Education's reimbursement program, but the district has submitted a placeholder in the event funding is released.

The board plans to pay off the project in 12 years, Leonard said in his motion.

Some of the renovations will be structural and certain upgrades need to be completed, said director Martin Stovar.

“From where we started to where we are without raising taxes, I'm confident with this decision,” he said.

The addition of 66 parking spaces is part of the proposal as are upgrades in cafeteria and kitchen equipment. Some directors wanted to see an auxiliary gym, a sprinkler system or updates to the high school pool, but those items are not included in the plans.

With approval of the project Monday, directors noted the importance of formulating a long-term strategy for updating the district's other buildings.

“The high school was an obvious easy start,” said director Scott Koschko.

Board members noted that they received a lot of public input on the renovations and want more.

“I hope we can gauge the community as much or more as we did this time,” said director Bruce Newell.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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