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New high school work in Manor may start soon

| Friday, April 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Armstrong School District could begin construction on its new high school in Manor as early as the end of the month if a few unforeseen obstacles are overcome, according to project manager Brian Hayes of L.R. Kimball.

“There's some additional work required on the new school project,” said Hayes, during the school board's open caucus on Thursday night at Dayton Elementary.

Hayes said the board will need to vote on paying fees for additional transportation services mandated by PennDOT and for additional sewage planning at the proposed site off Buffington Drive.

“The first one is for the traffic services we are doing,” said Hayes. “Since we started the project, we had been working with PennDOT and going through the plans for that work. The first step we did was the traffic study, but since it was submitted, PennDOT has come back with some additional comments that will require us to go back and revisit some of our initial calculations based on things they would like to see.”

Hayes said span wires that hold traffic lights and signs must be evaluated by an engineer anytime they are modified. Hayes also said a right-of-way plan regarding the traffic signal at the intersection of Buffington Drive and Route 422 must be in place and that Buffington will need to be widened to allow proper viewing angles. To do so, the architects plan to cut into the nearby hillside currently owned by Manor Township. Kimball will need to hire an outside consultant for the work, and solicitor Lee Price said that fee will be $26,500.

Hayes also said additional sewage planning has been required by the Department of Environmental Protection and that the state will require archaeological clearance of the site.

“That, again, is a service Kimball doesn't do,” said Hayes. “So we have to hire a consultant to do that work.”

Price said the cost of the additional sewage planning will be $28,500 and the cost of the archaeological study will be $20,113.

Hayes was optimistic that all of the agencies involved have been cooperative throughout the process, and he anticipates turnaround times to be expeditious.

After the meeting, president Joe Close remained undeterred.

“Even with this, we're still well under budget,” he said.”Hopefully we'll be able to turn all of this around quickly.”

In other news:

• The meeting took place at Dayton Elementary so that a sixth-grade general music class could put on a world drumming performance for the directors.

• Aflac associate Jeffrey Rood spoke to the directors about potentially offering Aflac services to all district employees. Although it would come to no cost to the district, the board was hesitant to make such a decision without first consulting with staff. Price said the district collectively decided about 17 years ago to use Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Co. for all interested employees and that opening the door to a new option could prove problematic down the road.

Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or tkaran@tribweb.com.

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