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Southmoreland board moves to fix damaged field

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Paul Paterra | Trib Total Media
Vince Mascia (left), middle school principal, and Dan Clara, primary center principal, unfurl a flag acknowledging Southmoreland Elementary School as a National Blue Ribbon School at Monday's meeting of the Southmoreland School Board.

Another step has been taken toward the restoration of Russ Grimm Field.

Southmoreland School directors voted Monday to authorize the administration to advertise to start the bidding process for the field, home base for fall sports and various other activities.

August storms severely damaged the field, rendering it unplayable.

Superintendent John Molnar said representatives of the Eckles Group of New Castle, which is serving as architect on the project, have been at the site on two occasions and are in the process of developing specifications.

Insurance will pick up the tab for restoration of the field, minus a $25,000 deductible.

“If there is a development outside the scope of the damage we'll bring that to (the board) for your approval,” Molnar said about any potential additional costs that would arise.

Also, John Lee, principal of Southmoreland Elementary School, and Timothy Scott, assistant superintendent, returned from the ceremony which recognized the elementary school as a National Blue Ribbon School, held Nov. 17-19 in Washington, D.C.

Southmoreland Elementary School was one of just 286 in the country to be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. Schools receive such recognition when students perform at very high levels or significant improvement is made in student levels of academic achievement.

“John Lee and I were very moved and humbled to represent the teachers, administrators, students, staff, parents, board and community of the Southmoreland School District. This truly is an amazing honor,” Scott said. “This is a district honor.”

The school was awarded a flag that will hang outside the building, acknowledging its recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.

“People, when they come up, will see SES is a National Blue Ribbon School for 2013,” Lee said.

The board also held its reorganization meeting Monday. Newly elected board members Levi Miller, Gail Rhodes, Cheryl Byers Shipley and Robert Callaro were sworn into office by Scottdale District Judge Charles Moore.

Michael Bentz was appointed president by a 4-3 vote. Casting votes for Bentz, along with himself, were Ken Alt, Rhodes and Callaro. Miller, Byers Shipley and Jason Pawlikowsky voted for Miller. School directors James Beistel and Aimee Love were not in attendance.

“I'm looking forward to a good year of getting many positive things done for the district and for the children,” Bentz said, also thanking Miller for his service as president for this past year. “Let's keep moving forward and plugging away.”

Byers Shipley was appointed vice president by an affirmative vote from each of the seven school directors in attendance.

Other appointments made Monday were:

• Miller, Pennsylvania School Boards Association legislative chairperson.

• Rhodes, PSBA regional representative.

• Love, representative to the board of directors of the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit.

• Pawlikowsky, representative to the Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center.

Paul Paterra is a staff editorfor Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or