Penn-Trafford officials seek input on remodeling
Penn-Trafford School Board members are asking residents to share their thoughts over the next three weeks about what should be included in the remodeling of the high school.
After reviewing estimated costs for everything from replacing the plumbing to building new science labs, board members on Monday said they might be ready to vote in early June to finalize how the 41-year-old building should be updated.
They also said they will have to start developing a long-term plan for improvements to the district's other schools as they deal with aging buildings and a declining student population.
Officials estimate that the district could afford to pay for a $40 million project at the high school over 20 years or a $30 million project over 12 years without raising the property-tax rate. In those scenarios, the board would restrict its borrowing so that annual debt payments would be no greater than those debts expiring over the next couple of years.
Officials are approaching the work without the expectation of state reimbursement, which state politicians in Harrisburg have frozen. Superintendent Thomas Butler said that moratorium reduces the potential money Penn-Trafford could use for the project by 22 to 25 percent.
In outlining a series of possible upgrades suggested by district staff, Butler said all of the construction items and soft costs estimated by the district's project manager and architect tallied $32.4 million.
“This is conservative, so it may be high, maybe by 5 percent,” Butler said.
In the rundown, the project included plumbing, electrical and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning work; new science labs and upgrades to the music and family and consumer sciences rooms; new kitchen equipment and other work in the kitchen and cafeteria; new seats, rigging and acoustical work in the auditorium; library and locker room improvements; and $3 million in general minor renovations throughout classrooms.
Other work included items that Butler said would help to relieve traffic congestion, including building 66 new parking spaces by the auditorium, adding a new bus loop and installing a new access road to Warrior Court.
Also proposed is new lighting in the parking lots.
The work doesn't include two items that school board member Nick Petrucci suggested as possible additions.
He said parents have complained in the past about the desire for more gym space. An auxiliary gym would add about $3.5 million more to the price of the project.
He also said he thinks a new sprinkler system — at a cost of $700,000 — is a necessity.
Board members Dallas Leonard and Toni Ising both said they want to embark on the project without raising taxes.
“If we have to increase taxes just to get through this project, what's going to happen when we get to the other projects?” Ising said.
One resident, Chris Guy, told the board he agrees with the district's conservative approach to the project.
“I don't drive a car that I don't pay cash for, so I'm with it,” he said.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
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.