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Board reviews costs for high school project in Chambersburg

October 26, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg School Board last month voted to spend $90 million to renovate Chambersburg Area Senior High School and build a comprehensive career and technology school, but the preliminary estimate on the high school project reviewed by the Buildings and Grounds Committee Thursday would cost $81 million.

The budget worksheet of additions and renovations to the high school includes $10.1 million for a new 61,500-square-foot gymnasium; an administration and library area for $5 million; $4.5 million for a 25-meter swimming pool, locker rooms and bleachers; and $3.75 million for a new auditorium.

Additional classroom areas would cost another $20.2 million, with another $3.75 million for a cafeteria and $2.7 million for a music area, according to figures presented by Paul Taylor of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates of Mechanicsburg, Pa. Renovating the existing classrooms and gym - which would be retained as a second gymnasium - would cost approximately $8.7 million.

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Taylor said some new amenities, such as the pool and auditorium, were added at the request of the High School Building Committee. The renovated school would accommodate 2,000 students in grades nine through 12, according to the plan.

The size of the school would more than double to 473,000 square feet, according to the worksheet.

Board member Renee Sharpe asked Taylor the cost of building a new school at a new site, referring to 78 acres the district purchased last year for a new secondary school.

"Not more expensive, maybe a little bit less," Taylor said.

"If we built the building on a new site, we'd have a building left over for the vo-tech," board member Thomas Orndorf said.

When the board voted 5-4 in favor of the $90 million construction plan in September, it called for a comprehensive technology center for about 1,000 students, but several questions remain unanswered.

The district has yet to determine whether a comprehensive school would be a stand-alone facility, or in some way incorporated with the existing Franklin County Career and Technology Center shared with five other local districts.

"This has to be coordinated with what's going on at the career and technology center," board member Stanley Helman said. Estimates that the district will have more than 3,000 secondary students by 2015 could fall short and the district might yet operate a Chambersburg Academy at another site for up to 500 at-risk students, he said.

Helman said a high school might only need to house 1,600 students.

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