ShareThis Page

Franklin Regional residents question safety, location, cost of Sloan campus project

Patrick Varine
| Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, 12:09 p.m.

Residents of Franklin Regional School District voiced concerns about the cost and location of a new elementary campus to the school board Monday night.

“This is not common sense,” said Valerie Mittereder of Murrysville. “To put all of our children out on a windy country road just makes no common sense.”

The Sloan campus project — it calls for the district's elementary students to be consolidated into two buildings, a renovated Sloan Elementary and a second, new building — recently went before the Murrysville planning commission, whose members cited a number of concerns including the project's location along Crowfoot and Sardis roads.

“My biggest concern is from a safety standpoint,” said Rick O'Mahony, a founding member of the municipal emergency management council and a Murrysville Medic One board member.

Several residents questioned the merit of putting all of the district's elementary students onto a single campus, particularly in light of the 2014 stabbing incident at Franklin Regional High School. Attacker Alex Hribal had been sentenced less than 12 hours before the meeting.

“We did not lose anyone in that incident,” O'Mahony said. “Part of the reason is that several other agencies had easy access to the (high school) campus. We don't have that way out at Crowfoot and Sardis roads.”

School board solicitor Gary Matta said he has received requests about the safety and security plans for the proposed Sloan elementary campus.

Matta assured attendees that those plans were in place but said making such plans public was not in the district's best interest.

“I think we are more concerned with staff and students' well-being rather than satisfying the public,” Matta said.

Cost was another factor weighing heavily on some residents' minds, given the suggested price tag of $54 million.

Eric Felack, chief of staff for state Rep. Eli Evankovich and a district property owner, relayed his boss' concerns.

“Fix what you have,” Felack said. “Don't raise taxes through the roof to pay for a new building.”

Former Murrysville Council President Joan Kearns agreed, citing additional costs including demolition of the former schools, remediation of those properties and the relocation of the district's administrative offices, now housed at Heritage Elementary School.

“All of these things prey on the minds of people who are facing a 9.5-mill tax hike over the next few years,” Kearns said.

School board President Dr. Larry Borland said the board is planning an additional public forum to discuss the project with the public. District officials previously held several meetings and a series of town-hall forums prior to voting on the elementary campus project.

Resident Lynn Full said a new campus was unnecessary.

“You don't have to build a building from scratch to get technology into it,” she said.

Patrick Varine is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach him at 724-850-2862, or @MurrysvilleStar on Twitter.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me