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Penn-Trafford makes plans for possible leftover money from school renovation

| Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, 10:30 p.m.

Penn-Trafford School District officials this week pared a wish list of projects that could be implemented if bids for the high school renovation come in lower than expected.

School directors on Monday cut the Top 10 list to six possibilities, which they will further review before construction bids are opened in April.

It is estimated the renovation project will cost about $32 million, but the bids could come back as much as $3.2 million cheaper.

The list's No. 1 priority has not changed. Officials still would like to build a high school annex — to include a maintenance facility, a garage, additional pool deck space, larger pool locker rooms, a gymnasium and a fitness center. It is estimated to cost about $3.5 million.

The other priorities are: building restrooms at the stadium, replacing boilers, adding two tennis courts with parking, creating a library skylight/atrium, and adding baseball parking with site lighting.

The remaining five projects would cost a total of nearly $5 million.

The project will include a new access road near Warrior Court. Officials decided to include the gated emergency-access roadway in the bid specifications. It is expected to cost about $46,900.

It will be easier to add the expense to the initial bid because bulldozers already will be on site, high school Principal Scott Inglese said.

Cut from the wish list were:

• A new pool heater. Experts determined the current heater is still in good shape. Replacement would have cost $58,350.

• Upgraded light fixtures. Instead of considering the $769,400 cost, the district will hire students who are studying electrical work at Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center in New Stanton to replace the ballasts over the next two to three years.

• An upgraded roof. Officials still will replace the school's roof, as initially planned, but they will skip a more expensive “upgraded” roof with a $217,600 cost.

District officials presented the Top 10 list last month. They are discussing it now so they don't waste time deliberating after the bids are received.

“We (will) have a game plan in place,” acting Superintendent Matt Harris said. “So come April, we can move forward.”

Harris said he favors the high school annex project.

“We're in dire need of the space,” athletic director Kerry Hetrick said. “Currently, we have to bus high school kids to other facilities to run practices, to run games.”

Additional gym space would eliminate transportation to other sites, cutting personnel costs, he said.

To address parking issues at the high school, officials added $20,000 into the original bid to extend the existing school bus loop, enabling vehicles to park diagonally during evening events. It would add about 35 or 40 parking spaces, Inglese said.

“(It's) within the $32 million budget,” he said. “We thought that was a small price to pay for that parking.”

Rossilynne Skena Culgan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or rskena@tribweb.com.

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