ShareThis Page

New McKeesport Area school gets vote of confidence

| Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, 7:21 a.m.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Finishing touches remain incomplete above the intermediate entrance to the new Twin Rivers school in McKeesport.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Workers tend to construction-related tasks above the primary entrance at the new Twin Rivers school.

McKeesport Area staff and officials are dispelling rumors that Twin Rivers Primary/Intermediate School was not ready to open when students transitioned there, beginning a month ago.

The new building, located along Cornell Street in McKeesport, opened for students in third through fifth grades on Jan. 23 and for kindergarten through second grade on Feb. 6.

Intermediate and primary students began the 2013-14 academic year in the former George Washington and Centennial buildings, respectively. Rumors circulating throughout the district claim there is teacher unrest because students should have remained in those temporary classrooms for the duration of the school year.

The Twin Rivers building was not complete when teachers and students made their transition, but Superintendent Rula S. Skezas said nearly everything that remains on the contractors' punch list is aesthetic.

“It doesn't affect the instruction of our students at all,” Skezas said. “A lot of it is cosmetic, and people will realize once the weather breaks that the harsh winter really held workers back from completing the building's exterior.”

On Wednesday, the school board is set to approve $76,420.30 in change orders for the project. The largest item is a $34,000 fence in the area of Spring Street.

Inside the school, classrooms are complete with the technology that made Twin Rivers a state-of-the-art priority for the school board and district administration. Promethean Boards and other “smart” resources are fully functional, Skezas said.

The cafeteria is complete, and the nutrition staff is serving breakfast and lunch daily.

School board president Patricia Maksin said she's heard “nothing but positives” from Twin Rivers teachers and other employees.

The McKeesport Area Education Association released an official statement last week, thanking the school board and taxpayers for making the Twin Rivers school a reality.

“The school is beautiful asset to the McKeesport community,” union president Matthew Mols said. “The teachers enthusiastically welcomed the move, and upon arrival expectations were exceeded.”

Teachers are looking forward to scheduling an open house to share the building with the community, Mols said.

“Students of McKeesport Area School District have a brand new innovative learning facility that they can call home,” Mols said.

Maksin said she's pleased to learn the education association took a formal stance in favor of the Twin Rivers move.

“We just felt it was important to get our kids into the best learning environment as quickly as possible without jeopardizing safety or health at all,” Maksin said.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1956, or jvertullo@tribweb.com.

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.