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Southmoreland seeking demolition bids

Southmoreland School District officials are hoping the slow economy will play into their favor when work is bid out to demolish the former junior high school.

Board members approved a motion Thursday to advertise for bids for the demolition of the building located in Alverton across from the senior high school.

This would be the first phase of a total project that district administration would like to see happen if the price is feasible.

The project would include construction of a parking lot on the site and the demolition of the maintenance building and construction of a new one in a location by the football field.

Dave Esposito with Eckles Architecture and Engineering presented preliminary drawings of what the space could look like if the district agreed to the project.

In addition to an asphalt parking lot that would include 224 parking spaces on the site of the junior high building, Esposito said a secure area behind the ticket booth in the space between the junior high and the field house would be developed where people could mill about during games.

"Being that you are the Scotties, I thought it could be named Scotland Yard," he said. "We would also plan to save some terra cotta from the old building and use it to build the portals that you would walk through."

This area is proposed to be paved in concrete.

The demolition of the old maintenance building would create another 35 parking spaces and pole lighting and fencing would be added to secure the area.

As for the cost, Esposito said demolition of the building and construction of the parking area could cost as much as $1 million.

While he's hoping the cost will come in lower, there are too many unknowns, such as the amount of asbestos in the building, to know for sure what the bids might come in at for demolition.

Esposito added that buildings this size can cost $300,000 to $400,000 to demolish. However, he has done research and found that some bids for buildings comparable in size have come in under $200,000.

As for the maintenance building, the proposed building is 6,000 square feet and depending on what type of construction materials are used, and a number of other variables, cost could come in anywhere from $750,000 to $1 million to construct.

Director Catherine Fike reminded board members that there are no funds available to apply for this project.

"All of the money for this will come right out of our pockets," she said. "It's like when you build a new home -- you don't always get what you want. Sometimes you have to cut back to what you can afford."

Esposito said the project should be ready to advertise by the end of the month.

Esposito said the demolition is the first phase and the second phase would be paving the parking lot, which would more than likely take place by this summer.

Construction of the new maintenance building could go into the fall, if that project is approved by the board.

Directors approved motions to file the proper paperwork with the state's Department of Education and to pay for land survey services and asbestos containing materials survey at a total cost of $6,720.

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