Franklin County career center board OKs building study

February 01, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The six districts that send students to the Franklin County Career and Technology Center appear to be heading in the same direction, approving a proposal Thursday night for a study to look into a $15 million program update and building renovation project.

The Joint Operating Committee unanimously approved a motion authorizing Administrative Director James Duffey to work with the architectural firm Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates in drawing up the proposal. Tom Crabtree, president of the Mechanicsburg, Pa., firm, said the study will cost about $20,000.

"I think we're gradually acquiring momentum," said Stanley Barkdoll, one of the Waynesboro Area School District's two committee members. "We agreed to look at the menu. We didn't order."

Along with Chambersburg and Waynesboro, students from the Greencastle-Antrim, Tuscarora, Fannett-Metal and Shippensburg school districts attend the center.

For more than a year, the Chambersburg Area School District has been pushing for changes at the center, proposing to purchase the building from the other districts, spend up to $47 million to upgrade and expand the facility and add an academic wing for its students. Under that plan, the other districts would pay tuition to send students to the center.


Some districts, however, have stated they want to retain joint control of the school. Waynesboro Superintendent Barry Dallara came up with an alternate proposal last year to keep it a joint operation and improve the facility, while allowing Chambersburg to build an academic wing on the campus.

The study authorized by the committee will look only at the center, not an academic wing for Chambersburg. Waynesboro's John Fitz said he liked the idea of considering improvements to the center separately.

"If Chambersburg wants an academic wing, that's fine with me," Fitz said.

Duffey said this study will run parallel to efforts by the districts' superintendents and committee members to iron out issues, including changes to the articles of agreement and the funding formula, that stand in the way of change at the center. An analysis is also being performed to determine the budgetary impact on the districts, he said.

Chambersburg has asked that the districts reach a consensus on some plan for the center by April 1.

Crabtree ran the committee through a similar study his firm did for a $22 million technical school project in Dauphin County. He said the committee will have to provide information on what programs it wishes to retain, improve and add to determine how much can be done for $15 million.

The districts can expect state reimbursement on the project of approximately 25 percent, Crabtree told the committee. Built in the late 1960s, the school is in relatively good shape due to physical plant upgrades in recent years, he said.

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