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Kiski Area awaits state OK for school expansion

Kiski Area School District is taking the next formal step toward renovating and expanding North Washington Elementary School, starting in April.

Kiski Area will seek approval from the state Education Department to expand North Washington into an upper-elementary school that will house all fifth- and sixth-graders.

Construction costs are expected to range from $16.2 million to $25.1 million. North Washington will be expanded from its current 24,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet

School board members are hoping for quick state approval and to start the project in April. Major construction, however, won't take place until after the school year ends in early June.

To fulfill another state requirement, the school board on Monday is expected to schedule a public hearing on the project next month. The hearing is tentatively set for 7 p.m. Feb. 17 in the high school's LGI room.

A resident on Wednesday night questioned whether American-made construction products will be used. Officials said state Act 3 requires steel made in the United States to be used. Other products, such a drywall, will be subject to usual bidding procedures.

As a member of the U.S. Community Alliance, the district can go across the globe to obtain supplies and lower the costs of construction projects, said school officials.

In other business

• Also on Monday, the board is expected to approve 11 new courses for the 2012-13 academic year and change the names of 11 other courses.

Some of the changes will not cost the district any money, but books and materials for others will total $54,000.

Among the new courses is Chinese IV. The district might need to hire a teacher, but instruction could come from a University of Pittsburgh visiting professor.

Other courses will not require adding teachers, such as robotics technology, engineering design and Advanced Placement U.S. history.

Some courses will be renamed — including Internet applications changing to web page design; and career prep changing to modern English 12.

Board member and curriculum committee chairwoman Elizabeth Kovach said the new courses and name changes have been worked on for several years.

Kovach urged parents with questions to contact Superintendent John Meighan or administrative assistant for secondary education Scott Koter.

• Teachers Courtney Anderson, Christy Henry, Jodi King and Erin Weber are expected to be given approval to attend the International Reading Association conference in Chicago from April 29 to May 2.

The trip will be paid for through federal Title II funds.

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