"I don't think we need the gym air-conditioned ... I think it would be a huge waste of resources," said Faust Principal Rick Keller. Unlike the high school gymnasium, Keller said Faust's gym is rarely used for special events such as graduation ceremonies.
In September, the board voted to incur debt of up to $116 million to pay for a new high school for grades nine through 12 and two elementary schools. Wednesday's agenda, however, included a request for the board to approve the presentation of a $10 million bond issue at its March meeting to pay for design work on a new high school, construction of a new Fayetteville Elementary School and renovations at Faust.
"There are feelings that this isn't as urgent as we were led to believe," board member Lori Leedy said of the Faust project. She said she was not sure it was the right time to spend the money on Faust.
Richard Bender, the district's director of facilities, said the heating and air-conditioning system at Faust has been a problem since it was installed in 1989, but agreed the work is not an immediate priority. Continuing maintenance and repair costs, however, make the school's problems "a pay me now or pay me later situation" and the work may be more expensive if delayed several years.
Leedy asked if paying for the work at Faust out of the $116 million will "be chipping away" at what the district can spend on the high school and elementary schools. "There are so many unknowns now," she said.
"There's a lot of big spending issues that we don't know how things are going to play out," said board member Thomas Orndorf. He said the board had to make a decision that night if the project was going to get done this summer.
Orndorf and board members Stanley Helman, Robert Helman, Eugene Gayman and Fred Rice voted to approve the contract. Leedy and board members Craig Musser, David Sciamanna and Renee Sharpe voted against the project.
The $10 million bond issue the board will vote on next month is the first of six over the next few years needed to fund the district's $116 million building program, Business Manager Rick Vensel said. While it would fund the Faust project and get the district started on the design of a high school, it would not fully fund construction of the $11.64 million Fayetteville project, he said.
Gayman said the board's decision to build a four-grade high school goes against the recommendations of the architect and Sponseller to use the existing high school for two grades and build or convert another building for two more grades. He added the district has yet to purchase land for a new high school.
The motion to vote on the bond issue in March was approved on a 7-2 vote with Gayman and Stanley Helman casting the dissenting votes.
How they voted
The Chambersburg School Board voted 5-4 to approve a $3.8 million renovation project at Faust Junior High School.
For: Thomas Orndorf, Stanley Helman, Robert Helman, Eugene Gayman and Fred Rice.
Against: Lori Leedy, Craig Musser, David Sciamanna and Renee Sharpe.