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Input sought on Springdale High School's addition

| Monday, May 25, 2009

A proposal for an $18.7 million addition at Springdale High School will be detailed to the public Tuesday night.

As required by the state Department of Education, officials will present their final plans for the project and solicit public opinion.

A little more than a year ago, officials conducted a public meeting designed to build support for a proposal to raze the school's D Wing and replace it with an improved facility. At the time, school directors planned on a more costly renovation and figured they would need voter approval to borrow millions to cover costs.

After meeting backlash from residents, the board decided not to seek a voter-approved bond issue. Instead, the board took on $8.4 million in debt that did not require voter approval and promised not to raise taxes to pay for the project.

"There is not going to be any (tax) increase," district Business Manager John Zenone said.

With the financing in place, officials plan to begin construction in October. Crews will build a two-story wing that houses 17 classrooms and is connected to the existing "tech" wing on the Colfax Street side of the high school.

The design was chosen from more than 30 options the board considered, said Jay Johnston of Canzian Johnston & Associates, the New Kensington firm that designed the new wing.

"It's one that doesn't ruin the board's options in the future," he said.

Officials said the wing could be converted into a separate middle school if enrollment drops substantially. Or, space could be added onto the new wing if enrollment grows.

The project will mean few disruptions for students, officials said.

"We can leave D Wing occupied until the new wing is up," Johnston said. "That was a real bonus with this whole plan."

Officials said the cost of a new wing was close to that of renovating the existing D Wing. The benefits of new construction -- such as not disrupting students -- convinced school directors that new construction was the way to go.

Springdale resident Darryl Yetter said he and several others oppose construction of a new wing but feel their concerns aren't being heard.

"I think we've done everything we can do, as far as citizen complaints go," Yetter said. "If we go to (Tuesday's) meeting, it will be like talking to the wall.

"(School directors) are doing the exact opposite of what people want them to do."

Michael Aubele can be reached at maubele@tribweb.com.

Additional Information:

What's next

Who: Allegheny Valley School Board

What: Renovation project public hearing

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Springdale High School auditorium, 501 Butler Road, Springdale

Project features

Springdale High School's proposed two-story wing would house 17 classrooms. The first floor would have consumer science, foreign language, special education and regular classrooms plus a faculty room and storage space. The second floor would house eight regular classrooms and two instruction/activity areas for team teaching plus a conference room and storage space.

The new wing would include a multipurpose room with space for a regulation-size basketball court. Officials intend for the room to be used for junior high school gym classes.

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