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Greater Latrobe athletic complex construction reported on schedule

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 8:21 p.m.

Construction on the athletic complex at the Greater Latrobe Junior-Senior High School campus remains on schedule, despite the poor weather in February, the district's representative on the construction project told the school board.

Of 20 working days in February, the weather was suitable for moving earth on 10 days, Kurt Thomas, Greater Latrobe's clerk of the works, told the board at its agenda meeting on Tuesday.

The complex will include turf fields, a fieldhouse, bleachers and a concession stand.

The building pad for the fieldhouse that will be built at the high school complex is now at the elevation where it will be built, Thomas said.

The next major step is the installation of utility lines underground, Thomas said. “Things should start to move quickly.”

The project, which is expected to cost more than $9 million, is on course to be finished in the fall of 2014, said Hank Tkacik, president of Axis Architecture of North Huntingdon, the district's architect on the project.

In other matters, the school district is conducting a second round of interviews of four candidates for principal at Baggaley Elementary School.

Superintendent Judith Swigart declined to say whether the finalists are district employees, outside candidates or a combination of both.

Swigart said she hopes to make a recommendation to the board at its meeting on Tuesday. The superintendent said she wants the new principal to start on July 1.

The current principal, Michael Porembka, was named director of teaching and learning, effective July 1.

The shuffling of administrators was necessary because Assistant Superintendent Gennaro Piraino is leaving April 21 to become the superintendent of Franklin Regional.

Greater Latrobe could receive additional revenue by permitting commercial advertisements on its website and if the junior-senior high school complex is selected for a cell phone tower operated by Verizon Wireless.

The district could be paid $1,500 a month, with scheduled increases, if Verizon Wireless selects the property for its tower, said Daniel Watson, district business manager.

Chris Burton, a site acquisition representative for NTP Wireless of Chicago, said Verizon is considering building the tower on the high school baseball field under construction.

Verizon could install the tower on a light pole that would be built at the edge of the center field area, Burton said. The pole would be in a fenced-in compound, about 45 by 20 feet.

Verizon might make a decision within 30 days and build the tower in the first quarter of 2014.

Verizon had signed a letter of agreement with the Latrobe Country Club for the tower but is looking at other sites, Burton said.

The school board is expected to give final approval to a policy on commercial advertising on school property and advertising on the district website.

The policy includes guidelines for appropriate advertising on the website, Director Katherine Elder said. For instance, the district will not permit ads for alcohol or cigarettes.

Swigart said the district does not expect to generate a significant amount of money from advertising. If the district could join forces with other area school districts, the revenue could be greater, she said.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or

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