Woodland Hills reviews options to prevent flooding at academy

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Options for preventing future flooding at the Woodland Hills Academy were presented by architect Phil Foreman of Foreman Architects and Engineers of Zelienople at a recent meeting of the district’s board of directors.

The estimated costs for the renovations for the academy, which was built in 1918 and renovated in 1938 and 1975, were budgeted at about $12 million, but bids came in at $10 million, Mr. Foreman said.

As is typical for boroughs in the area, like Turtle Creek, where the academy is located, the pipes under the school are made of clay tile. After consultants Insight Plumbing inspected the lines with a camera, it was determined that there were many broken pieces. The pipes are combined sanitary sewer/storm water lines.

Mr. Foreman said the flooding was “minor” and in the area of one of the classrooms. It was caused by the combination sewer/storm waterlines, he said.

He added that he is not aware of “any other problems in the academy with flooding.”

Board member Tara Reis said she thought the building had been flooded a few more times in the past year. She was also concerned about mold in the academy.

Mr. Foreman advised that if the board was concerned with mold, the district should bring in a consultant to do testing.

David Thompson of Foreman Architects presented the options to the board, the first being to clean the roof drains to above grade and replace floor drains in two locations. That option would also include filling in an area near the north side of the gymnasium to bring it to grade and to fill in a stairway on the side of the building near the former rifle range. If the board went with that option, a change order would not be needed.

Option No. 2 is to install a pipe liner in the line to increase flow and prevent water and dirt from seeping into the pipes. It would also include the possible elimination of the plumbing in the gym locker room.

“We actually have the budget for option two,” Mr. Foreman said, adding the cost would be about $100,000.

Option three would be to replace the piping system entirely, which Mr. Foreman said would be “very, very expensive.”

In other business at the Aug. 13 meeting, Elizabeth Miller, chief of adolescent medicine at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC presented the debut of a new video featuring students and coaches at Woodland Hills.

The video, which will be shown in schools across the region, talks about the Coaching Boys into Men program that seeks to reduce dating violence and sexual assault.

Ms. Miller said the program teaches young men to respect others, especially women.

“It shares conversations as to what it means to be a man and that constitutes respectful behavior,” she said.

“I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for the kids,” Ms. Reis told Ms. Miller at the meeting.

Board member Marilyn Messina added, “Thank you for making people aware and bring down the myth that this doesn’t happen here. There’s no boundary for violence.”

Deana Carpenter, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

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