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Hampton School District officials approve feasibility study

| Friday, April 13, 2018, 1:21 p.m.

A feasibility study will be conducted at Hampton High School as it nears a probable renovation in the near future, a possibility that has been under discussion by the school board and district administration over the past year.

On April 9, the school board voted 8-0, with one member absent, to approve VEBH Architects to conduct a high school feasibility study not to exceed $13,000, pending review by the district solicitor. VEBH also conducted and presented recommended needs of capital projects throughout the district in February.

At that presentation, Tom Durkin of VEBH also provided possible needs for the high school, not listed in any level of importance. This included an estimated $3.7 million replacement of the roof, an auditorium sound upgrade, and an estimated projected $1.15 million asphalt pavement upgrade, among other things.

Superintendent Dr. Michael Loughead said there was also a “very high-quality” study done approximately four years ago that they can reference.

“It was a very forward-thinking plan. I think we can build on it,” he said.

Also, Loughead said they are waiting to hear from Dr. Marguerite Imbarlina, the high school principal, who is focused on an academic redesign study. The report is expected by this fall, which would include recommendations for the high school.

Specifically, this process will provide an intense look on possible ways the current curriculum, school day and building could be modified to provide for a deeper learning experience for its students, according to a February presentation by Imbarlina.

Faculty committees are being formed this spring to study key areas and engage stakeholders. By summer, Imbarlina said they'll update the school board on their progress. The committees will continue to work in the fall with hopes of a final report of findings to the board by November, she said.

Loughead said it's necessary to include Imbarlina's findings. And said she is being careful to work with staff and share their ideas.

“It's really important to combine this with Marguerite's academic redesign recommendations,” said school board member Gail Litwiler.

Per an April 3 letter from Durkin to Loughead regarding the proposal to do the high school study, he noted that the current study has to comply with the Pennsylvania Department of Education's guidelines for a district-wide facility study, with a planning process in place prior to a major construction project. This is necessary to “establish criteria for reimbursement from the state” if possible.

In the review, VEBH staff will consider the district's educational program, projected enrollment figures, current high school capacity, building's physical condition — including the site, building roof and exterior walls, HVAC, plumbing and electrical, building maintainability, and safety and security.

Tower Engineering will assist VEBH with the mechanical and electrical engineering portion.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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