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Board vote seals deal to renovate, expand Franklin County career center

September 25, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Plans to renovate and expand the Franklin County Career and Technology Center took a solid step forward as the Chambersburg School Board passed a resolution to adopt an amended articles of agreement and to incur the debt necessary to pay for its portion of the project.

Chambersburg, which has been pressing for major changes at the center for more than two years, became the fifth and final district to approve the plan, which calls for a $15 million expansion and renovation of the existing building to be paid for by all the districts and construction of a $22.8 million academic wing for Chambersburg students.

"There were times I wasn't sure we would get there," said Board President Stanley Helman.

The amended articles of agreement call for each district to commit to paying for a number of student slots equivalent to at least 8 percent of enrollment in grades 10 through 12. The rotating position of superintendent of record, now held by Chambersburg Superintendent Joseph Padasak, would be lengthened from one to three years in the articles of agreement, which have remained unchanged since 1967.

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The agreement also provides for the withdrawal of the Fannett-Metal School District from the consortium of districts that own and operate the center. Fannett-Metal will withdraw by the beginning of the 2009-10 school year, but can still send students on a tuition basis.

The other participating districts are Waynesboro Area, Greencastle-Antrim, Shippensburg Area and Tuscarora.

Chambersburg would pay all of the cost of its academic wing and about 47 percent of the expansion of the career center, based on the percent of enrollment from the district, Business Manager Rick Vensel said.

The district would pay separately for its wing and its share of the center renovations, board solicitor Jan Sulcove said. Approval of a bond issue for the project might not occur until the first quarter of 2009, he said. The Technical School Authority, made up of representatives from each of the districts, would be in charge of the project, Sulcove said.

While the expansion and renovation are essentially two different projects, Vensel said they would be handled as one, with one architect, land development plan and contractor. That will save the districts approximately $5 million on the project, he said.

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