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Aggressive time line set for school

October 03, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Chambersburg school officials are pushing an aggressive timeline for renovations to the senior high school, which they hope could begin as soon as June.

Last month, the Board of School Directors approved a plan calling for improvements to Chambersburg Area Senior High School through a performance contract while continuing to explore the possibility of a new secondary school.

"We are running as fast as we can," Business Manager Rick Vensel said. "The charge from the board is to get it going."

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The next step will be asking the board Wednesday to release a request for the proposal on the project. With board approval, Vensel said the request will go out the next day and contractors will have until Nov. 19 to submit proposals.

The earliest the board will approve a contract would be at the Jan. 8 meeting, Vensel said, leaving the contractor only a few months to get everything designed, ordered and ready to go by June, when the school will close for the summer.

The district will spend about $15 million to upgrade and retrofit the whole building, from replacing windows and heating to adding air-conditioning and remodeling the bathrooms, Building and Grounds Supervisor Dick Bender said.

Performance contracts guarantee annual energy savings and water conservation that pay for the cost of the work over a 10-year period.

Vensel said the district is trying to dovetail several other projects at the high school with the work, like doing computer wiring while the ceilings are already ripped out. Other work would include replacing the flooring and painting.

The school board also directed administrators to consider building a multimedia library center on the high school property. The fate of that project may be determined by April when the board will issue a bond for the performance contract work, Vensel said.

Bender said the district won't have actual costs and savings of the renovations until the proposals are submitted Nov. 19.

Work would continue year-round, although during the summer the building will be closed to activities. Contractors will continue working during off-school hours in the school year, with work ultimately completed in late 2004, Bender said.

"It will be quite a challenge, but it is doable," Vensel said.

Bender said there would be little disruption to education, but stressed the building will be a construction zone.

"They will probably come back the first year without ceiling tiles," he said.

Officials expect the renovations will address many key problems with the aging high school, but said a performance contract can't change the footprint of the building.

"It is going to take care of issues at the high school within a year-and-a-half. This project will directly affect the environment of education setting in the classroom," Bender said.

Through a performance contract last year, the district installed a new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system at Chambersburg Area Middle School, which in its first year saved the district nearly $200,000 in energy and maintenance costs, Bender said.

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