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Hampton school officials plan to go forward with study on upgrading facilities

| Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Hampton Township School District administrators and school board members plan to move forward with a feasibility study to explore the potential high school remodeling project.

The school board was scheduled to approve VEBH Architects, a Mt. Lebanon-based firm, to complete a study for Hampton High School and other district facilities for $13,000 at its Monday, Feb. 10, meeting.

District administrators are looking at potential areas to be remodeled that would either improve energy consumption, security or education.

The last major high school construction project was during the 1999-2000 school year, which added two wings of classrooms, the large group instruction room and a gymnasium to the high school footprint.

Currently, there are 1,098 students enrolled at the high school.

The study will address educational programs that have special facility needs, projected enrollment, building capacity and the condition of each building. Architects will consider the site of each of the district's buildings; HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems; building safety and security; and the educational environment.

“Our goal is to go to each building or facility, walk through the building and prepare a list of issues or items that need to be addressed … and provide cost estimation,” said Tom Durkin, a Hampton resident and principal with VEBH.

School board members also requested a summary of any anticipated building projects to help determine the scope of the high school project.

The feasibility study will expand on a similar study completed in 2008 ahead of the Poff Elementary School remodeling project.

In January, Jeff Kline, director of administrative services at the school district, provided school board members with financial scenarios for financing the proposed project at a $5 million, $7.5 million and $10 million level for members to see how the project would affect the district's debt service.

“What I'd like to see is a line item list that we can prioritize and when there's cost associated, then we can decide how important number 11 is (on the prioritized list),” Kline said. “We're at a point where we're trying to get cost estimates.”

Board member Robert Shages said he would like to look at the potential remodeling project in terms of need.

“I would feel more comfortable going ahead with this as a needs-based document,” Shages said of the feasibility study.

“The fact we need an analysis from an architectural firm is well-warranted, but from an understanding of need. … What are the short-term and long-term needs?”

Durkin said a “very important part of this (feasibility study) process” is to sit down with administrators, teachers and other stakeholders to discuss the needs and function of the various spaces in the high school that are being considered for the project.

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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