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Connellsville Area to review 'brick and mortars' feasibility study

| Friday, Oct. 14, 2011

The public is welcome when the strategic feasibility study committee of Connellsville Area School District meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Connellsville Area Career and Technical Center to review the feasibility study prepared by architects Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates of Mechanicsburg.

During a committee meeting this week, board president Jon Detwiler said the board does not have the new document.

Michael Omatick, director of buildings and grounds, said Crabtree prepared the 2009 feasibility study and architect Jeff Straub will reference it next week in the 2011 study.

Director Paul Means, chairman of the building and grounds committee, said the study will deal "with brick-and-mortar issues -- the costs of renovations, savings on closing buildings. It's the beginning, not the end. Also, we need to look at transportation, education and staffing. That will not be in the study."

Resident George Stash said he had heard rumors that the board has already decided which schools to close. "The board needs to think about outfitting the schools to fit the students," he said.

"We do have to proceed with caution to do what's best for the kids," Detwiler said.

He quashed the idea of existing plans. "People assume there's a master plan out there. There is no master plan, no done deal," Detwiler said.

Director Francis Mongell expressed frustration with the pace of progress. "When are we going to start talking about these options• Are we going to vote this year?" he said.

Means said directors could take no action before examining the 2011 feasibility study.

"We don't have the money in our general account to wait one more year," Mongell said.

Although committee members did not discuss any of the options incorporated into the study, director Kevin Lape said, "I'll never support closing Dunbar Borough. It's the newest building in the district and the fourth-newest in Fayette County. It's ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act ) accessible and not landlocked like other buildings."

Stash suggested directors keep Dunbar Township open, too. "It's a growing area," he said.

Options brought forward in the past are available at www.casdfalcons.org.

Paper copies of the options and the 2009 feasibility study may be reviewed at the administration office at Connellsville Township Elementary School.

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