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Plum School Board OKs new Adlai Stevenson building

| Monday, Dec. 24, 2012, 7:49 p.m.

The Plum School Board has given the green light to build a second elementary school.

Board members last week voted, 8-1, to authorize 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.

The project includes closing Holiday Park Elementary that is located nearby. Both buildings need repairs.

A new Pivik Elementary opened at the beginning of the school year.

Board member Loretta White voted no.

White prefers renovating and expanding Adlai Stevenson to accommodate approximately 450 students who attend Holiday Park.

“I am excited about a new school at the Adlai site,” board member Shane McMasters said.

“It sets into motion a potential elementary school closing and maybe two (Regency Park). We have talked about a middle-school concept. We have great ideas as a district and an administration. We are moving in the right direction.”

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.

The district has funding in place for the project.

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.

White said renovating and expanding Adlai Stevenson could save about $5 million.

“The money could be put toward education,” White said.

Board president Andrew Drake said the $2.5 million in a fund is mandated for capital projects.

“The money can't be used for the general operating budget,” Drake said.

Board member Sal Colella said proceeding with a new elementary school is the most recent in a series of wise decisions.

“We have had no tax increase for the past three years, we were under budget for the new Pivik with a minimum of change orders,” Colella said.

“We have refinanced bonds, our test scores continue to improve. This (the Adlai project) is the right thing at the right time and in the right place. It is good for the citizens, students and taxpayers.”

Construction on the new Adlai building, according to the superintendent's timeline, would be completed for the 2014 school year, Glasspool has said.

Adlai students will attend classes in the former Pivik building while construction occurs.

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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