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WASHS renovation in final stages

February 17, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Decades-old portions of Waynesboro Area Senior High School are being renovated in the final stages of a $46 million construction project formally launched in January 2007.

The old gymnasium has been converted into two floors of classrooms, Maintenance Supervisor Jeff Adams said. The top floor opened for classes in the second semester, while electrical and duct work is preparing the bottom floor for technology education space, he said.

The new cafeteria opened when students returned from their winter break. It hosted the 13th annual Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce Business Expo and the Lions Club fundraising breakfast on Saturday.

"The finished product is going to be more than admirable, something for the community to be proud of," Adams said.

Business Administrator Caroline Dean said she will talk to the Waynesboro Area School Board about the project's financing during budget workshops this spring. The board on Tuesday requested that she bring financial adviser Public Financial Management and architect EI Associates to a meeting.

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The board issued $40 million worth of bonds and expected to generate $3 million in interest from that, Dean said. However, the weakened economy has reduced the amount of anticipated interest by about $1 million, she said.

Some of the project's change orders have been in the district's favor, while others have resulted in certain expenditures being higher. Change orders have totaled about $250,000, Dean said Tuesday night.

"The project, all in all, will cost what it was anticipated to cost," Dean said.

Under the direction of general contractor Lobar Associates Inc. of Dillsburg, Pa., crews have started renovating eight old classrooms. Next, they will tackle old science and business classrooms.

One of the final initiatives will be demolishing part of the old "D Wing." That portion served as a pedestrian bridge above a courtyard entrance.

"It's going to make a big difference," Adams said. "A truck will be able to go in and turn around at the loading dock."

Landscaping and painting will complete the renovation, which Adams said should wrap up this fall.

The high school opened in the 1960-61 school year and was last renovated in 1989.

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