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Mine puts snag in Highlands Middle School renovation

| Monday, Feb. 12, 2001

Renovation plans for Highlands Middle School might be on hold after officials discovered a proposed addition would be built over an old coal mine.

'We ran into some problems in one area because it is undermined,' said Tim McCue, board member.

'I don't know what the status is with that yet. I have some pretty big concerns about building over mines,' he said.

McCue said options include filling the mines with fly ash and moving the addition from the north side of the campus to the area behind the football field.

He said the renovation, which was scheduled to begin this summer, might be pushed back because of the mine problem.

The $16.1 million project includes a four-classroom addition, as well as renovations on items such as the boilers, hot water tanks and the roof.

'It was built in 1912 and hasn't been touched since the early '50s, with the exception of the library,' McCue said. 'The library was done in the '70s.'

To see plans

School officials said citizens can see the architectural designs during the Feb. 20 school board meeting, when an architect from HHSDR architectural and engineering firm, based in Sharon, presents the revised plans.

School officials also said the plans were revised by request of the school board and would not yet show any changes in the placement of the school's addition.

The renovations will be paid for in part by a 20 percent to 25 percent reimbursement from the state and by several school bonds.

McCue said the district took out a $7 million bond last year and intend to take out at least one, and possibly two, $10 million bonds this year.

He said the school board must decide whether to pursue the first $10 million bond this month or if they should wait until next month.

'We may do it during the next meeting, but we may wait until next month because the interest rates are falling,' McCue said.

Michelle L. Start can be reached at mstart@tribweb.com

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