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Greater Latrobe OKs $13M bond issue for elementary construction, senior high roof

Jeff Himler
| Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, 12:48 a.m.
Latrobe fifth-graders (from left) Timmy Miller, 11, and Elise Long, 10, sign a steel beam that will be placed in the new elementary school under construction on the city's Old Athletic Field.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Latrobe fifth-graders (from left) Timmy Miller, 11, and Elise Long, 10, sign a steel beam that will be placed in the new elementary school under construction on the city's Old Athletic Field.
Elizabeth Keslar, 10, a fifth-grade student at Latrobe Elementary, signs a steel beam Nov. 13, 2017, that will be placed in the new elementary school under construction on the city's Old Athletic Field.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Elizabeth Keslar, 10, a fifth-grade student at Latrobe Elementary, signs a steel beam Nov. 13, 2017, that will be placed in the new elementary school under construction on the city's Old Athletic Field.
Latrobe fifh-graders and Greater Latrobe School District administrators pose with a beam the students signed Nov. 13, 2017, before it is placed in the new elementary school under construction on the city's Old Athletic Field.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Latrobe fifh-graders and Greater Latrobe School District administrators pose with a beam the students signed Nov. 13, 2017, before it is placed in the new elementary school under construction on the city's Old Athletic Field.

Greater Latrobe School District plans to issue $13 million in bonds to complete financing of its new Latrobe Elementary School and to prepare for partial replacement of the aging roof at the senior high school.

The school board Tuesday authorized a bond issue of up to $15 million through the Greater Latrobe School Authority. But district business administrator Dan Watson said $13 million is the expected principal, with the majority to be applied toward the elementary construction.

The two-story elementary building is taking shape at Latrobe's Old Athletic Field, at Ligonier and Cherry streets, and is scheduled to open in August 2018.

Watson said the estimated $2.4 million roof project is tentatively scheduled for construction in 2019.

Kurt Thomas, director of operations and planning, said a 120,000-square-foot portion of the senior high roof dates from 1993, is out of warranty and is in need of an update.

“We're doing a lot more patching with that roof,” said Watson.

The $13 million bond issue is slated to close in January and is the last of three such issues supporting the $24.8 million elementary school construction.

Watson said the district conservatively expects to pay an interest rate of up to 3 percent on the bonds. It is paying 2.5 percent interest on $10 million in bonds that were issued last year and 2.1 percent on another $10 million issued earlier in 2017.

Payment on the debts will extend through the 2028-29 school year, Watson said

The school board awarded a contract to the W.B. Mason Company to provide furniture, fixtures and equipment for the new elementary building, at a cost of $649,370.

George Dickerson, elementary construction site manager for the Foreman Group, reported that contractors have been “making good progress through all the mud and the rain.”

Installation of the school's steel frame and decking is nearing completion, he said, noting one of the final steps will be lifting into place a beam that was signed Monday by 116 Latrobe fifth-graders — representing the first class that will graduate from the new school in 2019.

“It will be like a time capsule that will be put away forever,” Dickerson said.

The roofing contractor arrived at the site Monday.

“We're working feverishly to get the building enclosed so we can work on the interiors” during the coming winter months, Dickerson said. “We're working on all sections of the building.”

A steel structure for the school's elevator is in place and partitions are being constructed to delineate rooms in one of the two classroom wings.

“Classrooms are taking shape on the first floor,” Dickerson said. “You can see where the teacher is going to stand.”

The school board next will meet at 7 p.m. Dec. 5, to reorganize.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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