Firms lined up for high school study in Chambersburg

November 13, 2003|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Mechanicsburg, Pa., firm will get first crack at doing a feasibility study on the future of Chambersburg Area Senior High School after a vote Wednesday night by the Chambersburg School Board.

Instead of voting outright to recommend the hiring of one of three firms in contention for the contract, the board instead voted to rank the three and authorize the administration to begin negotiations with Crabtree, Rohrbaugh Associates. Should the administration not come to terms with Crabtree, the administration would then negotiate with The Ray Group of Lancaster, Pa., and then EI Associates of Harrisburg, Pa.

Business Manager Rick Vensel said Crabtree was the top choice with his office and buildings and grounds staff. EI Associates, however, was favored by the high school planning staff, he said.


"Crabtree has the best team on staff ready to go," said Director of Facilities Richard Bender. He said numerous clients and contractors of all three firms were contacted in an effort to rate their past performance and all three firms were close.

The district invited five firms to make presentations to the district before reducing the number to three finalists last month.

Earlier this year, the board voted 5-4 to spend up to $50,000 to hire a firm to look at the feasibility of enlarging the high school at its current site in Chambersburg to relieve overcrowding.

The main causes of overcrowding are the requirements for more classroom space devoted to special education and more space being devoted to computer labs, Superintendent Edwin Sponseller said Wednesday.

"We're actually looking for them to do a feasibility study, not to do a project," Sponseller said. He said the feasibility study must be a comprehensive look at the entire district.

This was the last meeting of the current board, with three newly elected members to be sworn in next month, Sponseller said.

"The support for enlarging our high school at its current site will be reconsidered" by the next board, Sponseller said. He said there are other ideas for easing overcrowding in the secondary schools and no final decision has been made on how to accomplish the goal.

The feasibility study may help the board build a consensus on the issue, Sponseller said. He said it probably will be several months before a contract proposal is ready for presentation to the board.

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