Penn-Trafford construction decision praised

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The Penn-Trafford school board is calling a $32 million renovation project at the high school a happy compromise between the administration and taxpayers.

Last week, the board unanimously approved the project, which will be financed over a 12-year period without necessitating a tax increase. The board came to its decision after considering comments from residents opposing a project that would result in higher taxes.

"I'm asking the district to stay within its budget and look at its needs, not its wants," said resident Jeff Shula just prior to the board's vote on the project.

The $32 million plan, which was devised by the district's project manager and architect, will include plumbing, electrical and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning work; new science labs and remodeling of classrooms; new kitchen equipment and other work in the kitchen and cafeteria; new seats, rigging and acoustical work in the auditorium; library and locker room improvements; better lighting in the parking lots; 66 new parking spaces; and a new bus loop.

Approximately $14 million to $17 million of the spending plan will "be going basically into the bones of the building," said director Martin Stovar.

Director Richard Niemiec commended his colleagues for their cooperation in approving the plan although it does not include many things that were initially considered, including a new auxiliary gym that would have cost $3.5 million or upgrades to the swimming pool.

"Everyone did a good job," said Mr. Niemiec. "We all had a commitment to keeping within our means."

Director Nick Petrucci said he personally had wanted to see the auxiliary gym and a new sprinkler system, but "the taxpayers didn't want a tax increase."

The district hopes to seek bids for the project in January with construction at the 40-year-old school building starting next summer.

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Linda Metz, freelance writer:


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