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School board agrees to spend $3,405,000 on repair projects

October 05, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY

karenh@herald-mail.com

Williamsport High School's tiles will be replaced. So will Winter Street Elementary School's boiler and Northern Middle School's cooling tower and chiller.

The repairs are some of the projects approved by the Washington County Board of Education with surplus money from the Washington County Commissioners.

The board agreed to spend $3,405,000 on nine projects, including roof repairs and the chiller replacement, at its meeting Tuesday night. The materials and additional man hours or contract labor for the work is anticipated to cost $95,000.

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The commissioners voted last month to give the board the money as part of a $12 million tax surplus.

According to Rodney Turnbough, director of facilities management, the projects include some of the school system's most-pressing needs.

"What we did was to look for items that could shut the schools down and cause problems for us," Turnbough said Tuesday afternoon.

The school system estimates it will spend $985,000 to replace asbestos tiles in the ceiling, ducts and piping at Williamsport High, $315,000 for a new boiler at Winter Street and $380,000 for a new cooling tower and chiller at Northern Middle. A new boiler for Smithsburg High School will cost $625,000 and a chiller system replacement at Smithsburg Middle School will cost $450,000, according to figures provided by the school system.

The school system's backlog of needed maintenance work is "still over $100 million," William Blum, the school system's chief operating officer, said before the meeting.

The commissioners in April denied a school board request for $2.7 million for maintenance projects. The school system has used money from other areas, including the operating budget, to take on some of the projects presented at that time, Turnbough said Tuesday afternoon.

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