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Highlands to repair, not remove, clock tower atop Tarentum school |
Valley News Dispatch

Highlands to repair, not remove, clock tower atop Tarentum school

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Tuesday, February 12, 2019 12:02 p.m.

There’s apparently no reason to recreate the “Save the clock tower!” scene from the movie “Back to the Future” in Tarentum.

Highlands School District is moving forward with repairing the landmark tower atop Highlands Elementary School, formerly known as Grandview, school board President Debbie Beale said.

The district also will replace the clock with a new one that works, she said. But first the district will repair the tower’s brickwork and roof to stop water from getting into the building and affecting classrooms below.

“There’s leakage. It is a problem in at least one or two rooms,” Beale said. “It’s got to be addressed. Nobody wants water in their building. It causes more problems.”

Mold is one possible problem. Highlands High School students started the academic year two days later than the rest of the district and had to make those days up because of mold concerns in that building.

The water leaking into the elementary school is being contained and the rooms are still being used, but “not like it should be,” Beale said.

The school board is expected to vote Monday on paying an architect about $22,000 to prepare documents the district can use to seek bids for the work.

Beale said the work, which would include setting up scaffolding, would be done this summer while students are not in the building.

Beale said the district explored an option raised by board member Judy Wisner in November to remove the tower instead of repairing it.

Although the idea was unpopular, Beale said the district had a responsibility to explore it. They found removing the tower would cost more than fixing it.

The one front-facing clock remaining in the tower has not worked for many years. Rather than spending $70,000 to $80,000 to get the antiquated clock mechanism working again, Beale said the district will get something new and less costly to have the clock operational again.

Beale said some business owners are willing to contribute to the work, and the district would welcome any donations toward it.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, or via Twitter .

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