Emergency access route worries Warrior Court residents

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Some Warrior Court residents are skeptical about Penn-Trafford officials' plan to include an emergency access road to the high school from their quiet, neighborhood lane as part of the high school construction project.

School board members decided last June to scrap a plan to create a new paved road that the district's architect said would have enabled the district to provide separate exits for buses and students' and parents' vehicles from the school.

But earlier this month, officials said they were intending to add to the base bid specifications the creation of a gated, gravel access road that emergency and maintenance workers would use only on rare occasions.

That plan prompted five homeowners to tell the school board last week to consider how the proposed road would affect the peacefulness of their street.

“If you lived on Warrior Court, how would you feel?” Doug Round asked.

Another resident, Rand Denale, said he agreed with the district's need for an access road that homeowners want a better definition of what would be considered an emergency use of the road.

Board member Phil Kochasic said the board would have to establish a policy outlining the road's use before he agreed to support it.

“Nothing's going to be remembered about what's said here except for a written policy,” he said.

Board member Jay Tray said it would be more accurate to describe the access road's use as a necessity for “a crisis response” or natural disaster.

After Toni Ising, the board's president, asked if the district could guarantee that the road would not be used by construction contractors, consultant Daniel Kiefer of Massaro CM Services said the construction documents could state that the road should be installed at the end of the project.

Superintendent Matt Harris said the district's safety committee will review the road plan again with Penn Township police and Penn-Trafford's architect and engineer.

Pool problems

Count the outgoing president of the Penn-Trafford Aqua Club as another proponent for the refurbishment of the high school pool.

Echoing the comments that high school swimming coach Dave Babik made to the school board last month, Chris Lonzo said an upgrade to the pool needs to be a priority because of poor ventilation, cracked tiles and the lack of deck space.

The club, which was founded in the 1970s, shortly after the high school opened in 1972, now has 100 swimmers, Lonzo said.

It plays host for eight to 10 meets a year but cannot organize a meet sanctioned by Allegheny Mountain Swimming, a regional governing body, because of the inadequacy of the pool, she said.

“As we continue to grow, our facility is not growing with us,” Lonzo said.

Kiefer, the district's construction manager for the upcoming $32-million high school remodeling, said a new pool would cost about $10 million.

School board members are showing interest in seeking price quotes for building an annex that would, among other things, expand the pool deck space if it fits into the project budget.

Band trip

The Penn-Trafford High School band is heading to Hollywood.

Board members on Monday approved a trip for the band to travel to Los Angeles from Nov. 28 to Dec. 4 to participate in the Hollywood Christmas Parade and parades at Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood.

There will be no cost to the district.

Drug awareness

The district is organizing a drug-awareness program for March 4 at 7 p.m., high school Principal Scott Inglese said.

Officials from the Westmoreland County coroner's office and a county detective are scheduled to speak.

Recovering addicts also will share their stories as part of the program, Inglese said.

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

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