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Renovations at Chambersburg Area High set to begin in days

February 29, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The beginning of a three-year, $73.8 million renovation and expansion of Chambersburg Area Senior High School is just days away and, while administration officials hope to keep disruptions at a minimum, staff, parents, students and those living around the school will have some adjustments to make.

Assistant Principal Kurt Widmann, the building project team leader, and Construction Projects Manager Kevin Weller hosted a community meeting Thursday night in the school's auditorium, but fewer than 20 parents attended.

Widmann and Weller have, however, been holding a series of meetings with students, faculty, neighbors and others to prepare them for the changes and phases on the 1,008-day project.

"The way everyone arrives and leaves will change," Widmann said of the most immediate change, which will begin March 25. The bus circles off Lortz and Tolbert avenues will be closed, along with the parking lot next to the gymnasium, Widmann said.

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Buses instead will load and unload along Sixth Street and behind the home bleachers of Trojan Stadium, Widmann said. Where students park and where parents pick up and drop off students also will be changed.

School resource officers, school officials and possibly fire police will be on hand to help while everyone gets used to the changes, he said.

Site preparation for the construction fence will begin around March 9, and the fence will be up by March 25, Weller said.

The first phase of the project will be construction of the new gymnasium and new academic wing, as well as demolition of the existing technical education and band wing and associated construction, Weller said.

"This building is loaded with asbestos. Abatement will be done in the summer," Weller said.

Half of the existing building will have asbestos removed this summer and the other half in 2009, he said.

Baseline air quality measurements have been taken and will be monitored during the project, Weller said.

As the project progresses and major changes are looming, Widmann said more meetings will be held. Information about the project also is available on the Chambersburg Area School District Web site.

The project will be completed in late 2010 and ninth-graders, who currently attend Faust Junior High School, will move into the high school in the fall of 2011, Widmann said.

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