Quaker Valley work to fix safety-related issues

Bobby Cherry
| Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Quaker Valley High School will undergo nearly $63,000 worth of construction over the summer, with much of the work focused on fixing potentially unsafe structures at the Leetsdale campus, school district leaders said.

Issues related to a sagging floor in the high school front office and auditorium area, a fire escape and an 80-foot concrete and brick area above the cafeteria are of concern.

In the front office area, work is expected to cost no more than $16,000, district spokeswoman Tina Vojtko said. Repairs to the fire escape will cost up to $28,000 and in the cafeteria, work is expected to cost up to $9,400.

“Many of these items are repair items, and, frankly, safety items that we had no choice but to fix,” Quaker Valley School Board member David Pusateri said.

Board members in February approved a $15,000 contract with New Castle-based Eckles Architecture to develop a building analysis and facilities plan for the high school, built in 1924.

The work includes looking at current and future educational needs, an analysis of the building and surrounding site, research on other “state-of-the-art” high schools and school and community interviews.

This research is expected to be done by June, Vojtko said.

Last summer, the Cadnetics Inc. engineering firm analyzed the building's structural capacity. Geotechnical firm Garvin Boward Beitko Engineering Inc. conducted core drilling to determine soil conditions underneath and around the building.

Board members in January approved spending about $439,500 to replace turf at Chuck Knox Stadium, which is on a lower portion of the high school campus near Route 65. And in April, the board approved spending $9,500 to install underground pipes and electrical boxes to the field to provide a constant power supply for end zone clocks.

“To date, the district has been using portable generators to power the clocks,” Vojtko said.

In 2012, the district spent $400,000 to acquire two homes near the high school. Officials said they would consider adding a parking lot and student drop-off area, but developing any potential use for the properties would be part of a broader high school building project.

Any possible construction to update the building could begin near the end of the decade, district leaders have said.

“We have an aging structure there,” Pusateri said.

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 orrcherry@tribweb.com.

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