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Penn-Trafford School Board OK's $105K for renovation plans

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By Chris Foreman
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

The Penn-Trafford School Board unanimously approved $105,000 in payments this week for work related to a proposed renovation of the high school.

The board on Feb. 11 signed off on a $86,250 payment to North Huntingdon-based Axis Architecture for work on the schematic-design phase of the project. Officials also ratified $18,900 to Morris Knowles and Associates for surveying and mapping work.

District administrators are having monthly meetings with Hank Tkacik of Axis and Daniel Kiefer of Massaro CM Services, the district's construction manager, to plan the estimated $30 million project.

According to a tentative timeline, the district could advertise for bids as soon as February 2014, award contracts two months later and start construction soon after.

Superintendent Tom Butler said he has been satisfied with the progress of the design meetings.

“So far, it's good, and I'm really pleased with how well everyone is working together,” he said.

The last major renovation at the 40-year-old high school was in 1996. A project likely would upgrade the school's heating and cooling systems and plumbing and electrical infrastructure, among other aspects.

Though the state has frozen reimbursement funding for building projects, Tkacik worked on an application to the state Department of Education as a placeholder in case the money becomes available again.

Garner retiring

Karen Garner, the principal for both the Trafford middle and elementary schools, will retire this summer.

Garner, who joined the district in the fall of 1975, is in her sixth year as the principal of both schools.

“It's not very often you get to turn one of your passions into a career,” said Garner, whose last day will be June 28.

School board member Toni Ising said both her son and daughter pointed to Garner as the best teacher they encountered in the district when she taught them at Level Green Elementary School.

Penn-Trafford Education Association President Shaun Rinier also said teachers in Garner's schools held her in high regard.

“She always was well-respected down there, and I always heard good things,” he said.


The school board approved the following hirings:

• Emily Pferdehirt, long-term substitute third-grade teacher at Sunrise Elementary School.

• David Nigro, computer tech assistant at Trafford Elementary.

• Gary Bacco, girls middle school head softball coach.

• Danielle Isaacs, girls middle school assistant softball coach.

• Jeff Nese, boys varsity soccer head coach.

• Somer Daniels, cross country head coach at Trafford Middle School.

• Angela Varhula, varsity and junior varsity softball assistant coach.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or

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