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Thomas Jefferson High School field is getting new turf

| Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Thomas Jefferson High School field could be out of play for up to three months this summer as the turf and track are being replaced.

School board members at their Feb. 26 voting meeting agreed to a proposal from district architect Ryan Pierce, of JC Pierce LLC, to provide architectural and engineering services and advertise bids for the replacement of the high school turf and track. The architect's fees are not to exceed $37,250.

A time frame for the work has not been determined, Pierce said. Yet, the replacement of the turf and track will require closing the area for several months.

If there are time constraints, the project could be completed in two phases, with the turf being replaced this summer and the track in 2014, according to the proposal.

A presentation by Pierce last month, which reviewed all facilities needs, recommended that the district budget $698,000 for the project.

Board members have discussed replacement of the turf and track for several years. The warranty on the current turf, installed in 2001, expired in 2009. Two years ago, a study was done and it was determined that, with maintenance, the existing turf would be safe for use for two more years, the proposal states. At the end of the 2012 football season, it was “determined that the existing turf could no longer be maintained in a safe and cost-effective manner.”

‘No' to Duquesne students

Accepting elementary students from the Duquesne City School District would place a capacity strain on the West Jefferson Hills School District and the proposed compensation is “inadequate” and “unrealistic,” leaders said.

West Jefferson Hills School board members at their Feb. 26 meeting approved a resolution expressing opposition of the school district's participation in the Duquesne City School District chief recovery officer's plan, which asked several local school districts, including Brentwood Borough and Baldwin-Whitehall, to take in elementary students from Duquesne.

“We've already got capacity issues,” said acting assistant Superintendent Hamsini Rajgopal, noting that the West Jefferson Hills went through a redistricting last school year to fix an overcrowding problem in the elementary schools.

The state Department of Education recommended putting the financially distressed Duquesne district into receivership and closing it. Nearly all neighboring districts, however, declined to take the children. Most cited reasons similar to those West Jefferson Hills officials voiced.

Last week, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Judith L.A. Friedman continued a hearing on the Duquesne district's future until April 2.

Lunch provider

Metz and Associates likely will continue to provide lunches for students in the West Jefferson Hills School District in the 2013-14 school year.

School board members last week agreed to have administrators proceed with the process of renewing a contract with the food service provider for next school year.

School calendar

Students will be headed back to the classroom for the start of the 2013-14 school year on Aug. 26.

School board members on Feb. 26 approved the district calendar for next school year.

The calendar includes 182 days of instruction and eight teacher in-service or clerical days.

A copy of the calendar can be found on the district website, www.wjhsd.net.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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