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Chambersburg schools under construction this summer

June 25, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Several million dollars worth of construction, repairs and improvements to Chambersburg Area School District buildings will be completed by the time school reopens on Aug. 30, district officials said.

The new Scotland Elementary School, however, will not be ready to open its doors until Thanksgiving or Christmas, according to Business Manager Rick Vensel. Funding for the $13.8 million school, with three classrooms each for kindergarten through fifth grade, was approved through a 2001 bond issue, he said Thursday.

The existing Scotland Elementary is one of the oldest of the district's 18 elementary schools, with part of it dating back to 1916, according to a building survey done earlier this year by the Crabtree, Rohrbaugh Associates, a Mechanicsburg, Pa., architectural firm hired to develop a long-range facilities plan for the district.

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Last week, Richard Bender, the director of buildings and grounds, told the Building and Grounds Committee that work was set to start on the second phase of the $10 million high school energy performance contract. That included "tearing apart the administrative wing," he said.

For this summer, the offices of Chambersburg Area Senior High School Principal Barry L. Purvis and other administrators will be in the library while the work is going on. Crews this week are tearing out single-pane windows in the administrative wing, stairwell towers and gymnasium of the half-century old school and replacing them with more energy efficient double-pane tinted glass.

Last summer, hundreds of other windows were replaced, along with the heating system and roof, and much of the building was air-conditioned. The high school work is being paid for by a $13 million bond issue that was also used to upgrade technology and security systems at the high school, as well as elementary school computer technology, Vensel said.

The district also is spending $40,400 for drapes in the high school, Vensel said.

"At Lurgan, we're way ahead of schedule," Bender said last week. The elementary is getting a scaled-down $2.3 million version of the energy enhancements done at the high school, including the more efficient windows, a new heating system and air conditioning.

Lurgan had about 180 students this year, including three classes for neurological- and hearing-impaired students, according to district figures. Some of the special needs classes could be relocated and another 85 students moved in if the district decides to close Letterkenny Elementary School.

A vote on closing Letterkenny is scheduled for Aug. 11, three weeks before schools starts. Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Services James Taylor said earlier this year that Lurgan is large enough to accommodate two classrooms for each grade.

The roof over the art and music wing of Faust Junior High School is being replaced this summer at a cost of $199,500, Vensel said. The district is spending another $126,000 to replace the roof on Coldbrook Elementary, he said.

Other work this summer includes roof repairs to a cross hall and the installation of a wheelchair lift, both at Chambersburg Area Middle School, Vensel said.

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