ShareThis Page
News

Officials may borrow up to $50M to renovate

| Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2004

Woodland Hills school officials are expected Wednesday to approve borrowing as much as $50 million to renovate several buildings, including Wolvarena stadium in Turtle Creek.

School officials said they won't know the tax impact until loan terms and the state's reimbursement are determined, district spokeswoman Pat Dawson said.

School board member Linda Cole said taxpayers can expect minimal tax rate increases over the course of the project because the work will be done in phases. The current rate is 23.3 mills, meaning the owner of a $50,000 home pays $1,165 a year in school taxes. The district last raised taxes in 2003, when the rate went up by 1.4 mills.

The district floated two bonds in the 1990s -- a $9 million bond in 1997 for technology upgrades and $36 million in 1998-99 for renovations of Edgewood and Wilkins primary schools and the high school.

"We have a lot of old buildings," Cole said. "We have to get started on them."

Board members discussed getting the next renovation started before changes in state laws that would force the district to seek a referendum to raise taxes for such a project. Board members said that despite an overwhelming need to improve the buildings, voters might not approve the plan because of expected tax increases.

"Anytime you have a referendum in Pennsylvania, it's very difficult to get it passed," board President Cynthia Lowery said.

The district serves 5,700 students from 12 communities.

The renovation project, based on a study of the district's buildings, would include East Junior High School, Shaffer Primary School, Rankin and Fairless elementary schools and the administration building. The report by HHSDR Architects, of Sharon, Mercer County, recommended improvements to each of the district's buildings.

The study said the Wolvarena, named by USA Today as one of the top 10 places in the country to watch a high school football game, needs to be replaced or renovated. The study cited shifting concrete, steep steps, poor drainage, inadequate parking, poor locker rooms and too few restrooms among other problems.

Other recommendations in the report included:

  • Replacing the roof at Rankin Intermediate School and a portion of the roof at the high school.

  • Making brick repairs at the Woodland Hills East Junior High School entrance.

  • Building an addition and installing air conditioning at the high school.

  • Renovating the administration building.

    Cole said the project would start with East Junior High.

    Dawson said work would not begin before next year.

    Wednesday's meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the administration building, 2430 Greensburg Pike, Churchill.

  • TribLIVE commenting policy

    You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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