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Holiday Park Elementary groundbreaking soggy, optimistic

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Plum Advance Leader
Groundbreaking for the new Holiday Park Elementary School at the Adlai/O'Block site, Tuesday, November 26. From left are: (L-R) Plum School Board member Richard Zucco; Holiday Park Elementary School Principal Fran Sciullo; Plum School Board member Joe Tommarello; Adlai Stevenson Elementary Principal Jason Knisely; Plum School Board member Shane McMasters; Plum School Board member Tom McGough; Plum School Board member John St. Leger; Plum School Board member Kevin Dowdell; Plum School Board member Sal Colella; Pittsburgh Soil and Rock President Arnie Caffas; Plum School District business Manager Eugene Marraccini; Plum School District assistant Superintendent Guy Rossi; Plum School District Superintendent Timothy Glasspool and Plum School District director of administrative Services Michael Brewer.

Tom McGough looked on the bright side while standing in the rain and cold at the groundbreaking for the new Holiday Park Elementary School.

“Perhaps it's a good omen,” said McGough, a Plum School Board member, just before he and others placed their gold-colored shovels in the ground to turn over the dirt at the site of the now-demolished Adlai Stevenson Elementary School.

The short ceremony, attended by members of the Plum School District administration, board and construction team, marked the beginning of the construction of the new building that is expected to be completed in 14 months. Demolition of the old elementary school occurred in the past few months.

“The (construction) contracts have been signed, the preconstruction meetings are done, and the trees and the old asphalt has been removed,” said Dennis Russo, the district's construction representative. “We are on schedule.”

The Plum School Board last month voted to approve four contracts totaling nearly $15.2 million for general construction, plumbing and fire protection; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; and electrical work.

The four contractors are: Hudson Construction in Hermitage for the general construction in the amount of $10.3 million; Vrabel Plumbing in West Deer for plumbing and fire protection for $968,000; Lugaila Mechanical Inc. of Crafton for heating, ventilation and air conditioning for $1.7 million; and Vern's Electric in Pittsburgh's Carrick neighborhood for electrical work at a cost of $2.2 million.

The board earlier this year approved spending a maximum of $20 million on the project.

Adlai Stevenson students are attending classes in the old Pivik Elementary building on School Road.

The current Holiday Park Elementary is scheduled to close when the new building opens. District officials plan to redistrict students for the 2015-16 school year, when the new school is expected to open.

Superintendent Timothy Glasspool lauded board members for moving the project forward.

“Amidst truly difficult economic times, the school board of the Plum Borough School District found a way to fund this much-needed school construction project,” Glasspool said prior to the groundbreaking. “The concept of using a proven school design (the new Pivik Elementary) has saved the district no less than a half million dollars.”

Glasspool added that the board decided to proceed with a new school when interest rates were at a low point, which is saving taxpayers about $3 million.

He said the consolidation of schools will save the Plum School District about a half a million dollars annually.

“These costs pale in comparison to the benefits our children will realize for years to come,” Glasspool said.

Board member Sal Colella said he is awaiting the completion of the building.

“I look forward to getting the kids in there,” Colella said.

Adlai Stevenson and Holiday Park Elementary principals Jason Knisely and Fran Sciullo also attended.

“This is a nice step in the process to begin the new building,” Knisely said.

“It's an exciting moment,” Sciullo said.

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

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