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Ringgold deals with elementary space woes

| Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, 12:56 a.m.

A project at Ringgold Elementary School South, in large part to alleviate overcrowding at the facility, would cost upwards of $6.5 million, an architect told the school board Wednesday.

But the district could realize the maximum state reimbursement if it takes a wait-and-see stance.

Greer Hayden, president of HHSDR Architects, presented various options for the possible scope of work.

One option would involve the construction of a six-room addition to the Carroll Township school. Initially projected at just under $1.1 million when the architectural firm reported to the board two years ago, Hayden said it would cost roughly $2.5 million if completed next year.

A second option would involve renovations to the kitchen area, including additional serving lines and new equipment. Both options would include security upgrades. In addition, the firm studied the cost of air conditioning at the facility. Combined, that work would cost $5.9 million to $6.5 million, Hayden said.

Business manager Randy Skrinjorich said the administration recommends that only the cafeteria work be approved initially.

That way, the district could be in line to receive maximum reimbursement based on the state Planning and Construction Workbook. Known as PlanCon, the state program is a set of forms and procedures used to apply for reimbursement of costs for new building construction.

Skrinjorich said that if the district begins a construction project and then the state reinstitutes PlanCon, that work would not be eligible for reimbursement.

Hayden said if the air conditioning is addressed, it would disrupt the ceiling and require work on the lighting.

Another possible solution to overcrowding would be to add fifth-graders to the proposed middle school, Skrinjorich said. Children in kindergarten through grade four would be housed at RESS and Ringgold Elementary School North. Grades five through eight would be at the proposed middle school.

The board approved an agreement with auctioneer Steve Yilit Jr. to sell the contents of the former Donora and Monongahela elementary centers.

The board is proceeding with plans to construct a middle school on the Carroll Township campus where the high school is located.

It would replace Ringgold Middle School — the former Finley Middle School building — which had been shifting because of pyrite beneath the ground. Architects have told the board the building is currently safe for occupancy.

The board is waiting for state funding under PlanCon before moving ahead with construction of a middle school.

Director Chuck Smith had a more radical idea – expand classroom size at the two elementary schools to handle kindergarten through grade six, and build an addition to the high school property to accommodate seventh- and eighth-grade students.

Hayden said if such a construction plan was approved for the high school site, and the addition was connected to the existing high school, the entire high school building would have to be brought up to state code to qualify for state reimbursement.

The board authorized HHSDR to study possible renovations to the high school complex. The board capped the cost of that study at $7,500.

No work was approved Wednesday.

The board also approved payments of $17,498.95 to R&B Mechanical Inc. for the high school dehumidification project, and $8,706.52 to Keystone Waterproofing Inc. for the high school masonry repair project.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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