WCPS long-term housing options

December 08, 2012

A report that reviews long-term housing options for the administrative, instructional, operational services, testing and supervisory offices at Washington County Public Schools’ Commonwealth Avenue complex reviews six options.

They are:

Option 1: Renovate and maintain the existing facility

Estimated cost: $11,605,000, with additional $1,248,000 for temporary offices over four years.

Report comments: Renovating the current facility will not completely solve the system’s needs as it would not provide any additional space for future growth, many of the issues related to the inefficient layout would not be resolved, issues with the separation of “public” and “private” space would not be resolved, “parts of the building are in such poor condition that demolition and reconstruction with new structures will be the only viable option,” and temporary modular office buildings would be needed during the renovation.

Option 2: Renovate part of the facility, demolish 1938 section and construct 19,800-square-foot building

Estimated cost: $14,064,000

Report comments: Scenario includes demolishing 1938 section that houses senior staff members’ offices and Transportation Department, building a two-story addition in that space and renovating remaining space.

Similar to option one, this option does not completely solve the system’s needs.

Option 3: Use another school system building

Estimated cost range: $4.2 million to $9.5 million, depending on the building.

Report comments: Mentions former Job Development Center near Smithsburg, Winter Street Elementary School, Conococheague Elementary School and Bester Elementary School.

Option 4: Use an existing building not owned by WCPS

Estimated cost of leasing space: Approximately $400,000 to $800,000 per year to lease “as is” part or all of former Allegheny Energy headquarters, or $400,000 to $1.9 million per year to lease former Action Products Building, if office space is upgraded.

Estimated purchase price for former Allegheny Energy building: $4 million with 15 acres to $6.5 million with 40 acres.

Report comments: Allegheny Energy figures do not include cost of necessary renovations, taxes and insurances.

Allegheny Energy building has more than enough space, but has issues such as design and security — if part of building were leased by someone else — that would need to be investigated.

Action Products site does not have enough on-site parking and current space not suitable for school system offices. Estimated costs subject to obtaining off-site parking and renovations.

Option 5: Building a new facility

Estimated cost: $13 million to $16 million for a 75,000-square-foot building, including architectural/engineering services, furnishings and contingencies.

Report comments: The report notes a new facility could be built on the Commonwealth Avenue property in the area of the school bus lot or at a different site. The cost estimate does not include acquiring a new site, extension of public utilities or any subsurface conditions in the bus parking area that could require additional site prep.

Option 6: Public-private partnerships

Report comments: The Greater Hagerstown Committee has a task force investigating various ideas for a downtown office building. Various options and costs are expected to be provided with the task force’s final report.

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