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Tuscarora board working out details on school project

May 28, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Discussion of the Tuscarora School Board's proposed multimillion dollar renovation project at James Buchanan High School kept school board directors and residents holed up in the high school library until past 9:30 p.m. Tuesday waiting for the board to vote on a maximum project cost to be put to voters on a referendum this fall.

As of presstime, the board had not nailed down a project cost, or mill rate increase for the referendum and had not voted whether to put the referendum before voters this fall.

The project cost set forth in the referendum is the maximum amount the School District can spend for the project since state law requires voter approval for taxpayer funded school projects.

Architecture firm Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates of Mechanicsburg, Pa., reiterated to the board that the cost estimates it presented the board at its April meeting included a contingency and room for alternate bids if the price of construction materials experiences unforeseen inflation before the project is finished.

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The board has discussed options for the project ranging from $30 million to $49 million, which for a median homeowner could come with an tax rate increase of 12 to 22 mills.

The renovations to be completed by 2012 include a balcony addition to the auditorium, a new swimming pool, a six-lane track, and various heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system upgrades.

Residents asked that before the project is put to vote in November, the board address how it will plan for the future, so that in 20 years, it does not ask taxpayers for an additional 12 mills.

Charles Miller said he graduated from James Buchanan High School and would like to see the same care given to the new building that was given to the existing one while he was a student.

The board is in the process of creating a maintenance superintendent position for the high school that would ideally employ a person with diverse skills to maintain the building.

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