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Plum school board to consider new Adlai building

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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, 8:51 p.m.
 

Moving ahead with a new elementary building is the consensus of the Plum School Board.

To that end, board members Tuesday night were expected to consider authorizing the administration to negotiate agreements with L.R. Kimball, Russo Construction and Pennsylvania Soil and Rock for the demolition of the existing Adlai Stevenson Elementary School and the construction of a new building.

“It's time we move forward,” board member Shane McMasters said during last week's facilities committee meeting. “And if we are going to do so, we should do so now.”

The plan calls for building a new school at the Adlai Stevenson site and closing Holiday Park Elementary. Both buildings are in need of repairs.

Superintendent Timothy Glasspool has said building a new school would cost about $18 million.

Closing Holiday Park, located about a mile from Adlai Stevenson, would save the district $635,743 annually and $31 million over 25 years, Glasspool said.

“That knowledge (potential savings) gives us all the ammunition we need,” McMasters said.

Though the majority of board members endorse building a new school, Loretta White continues to question the move and wants more information about renovating Adlai Stevenson with an addition at an estimated cost of $11 million.

“I think we ought to renovate,” White said. “People are saying don't build a new school.”

School Board President Andrew Drake disagreed, citing findings in a recent demographic study.

“The demographic study said we have too many buildings,” Drake said. “If we build a new Adlai and close Holiday Park, we save several hundred thousand dollars a year. A new building is more efficient than renovating an old building. The majority of the board looked at it, and it's the best use of the district's money and the best long-term plan.”

Board members in September voted to borrow $7.5 million. The board also approved refinancing several bond issues expected to glean the district $6.5 million.

The district also has about $2 million remaining from the Pivik Elementary School construction project. The board earlier this year also set aside $2.5 million in a fund created for capital improvements. The total from all the sources is $18.5 million.

Construction on the new Adlai building, according to the superintendent's timeline, would be completed for the 2014 school year. Adlai students would attend classes in the former Pivik building while construction occurs.

The exact month for completion would depend upon the type of building design selected by the board. District officials plan to meet with L.R. Kimball officials who designed the new Pivik building to discuss the possibility of using the same design for a new Adlai Stevenson school.

Glasspool also said the timeline calls for redistricting of all students for the 2014-15 school year.

McMasters said ultimately he sees Plum being home to three elementary schools — Center, Pivik and a new Adlai Stevenson.

“We have to discuss Regency also,” McMasters said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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