Weatherly Area schools to get study, up­grades

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - LOCAL - BY SAM GALSKI STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: sgal­ski @stan­dard­speaker.com; 570-501-3586

A Har­ris­burg ar­chi­tec­tural and engi­neer­ing fir m is eval­u­at­ing con­di­tions at Weather ly Area school fa­cil­i­ties as of­fi­cials con­sider up­grad­ing boiler sys­tems at the high school and middle school, district of­fi­cials said.

The district hired EI As­so­ciates, a fir m that pro­vides ar­chi­tec­tural, engi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion ser­vices, to per­form a fea­si­bil­ity study at the schools, Su­per­in­ten­dent Teresa Young said.

The re­port con­sists of ex­te­rior and in­te­rior eval­u­a­tions of school build­ings, a site eval­u­a­tion, as well as re­views of heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and air con­di­tion­ing sys­tems, plumb­ing fix­tures, elec­tri­cal sys­tems, code eval­u­a­tions and mis­cel­la­neous up­grades, she said.

Each com­po­nent was ranked by num­ber, with lower num­bers re pre­sent­ing higher-pri­or­ity up­grades, Young said.

The study cost $5,000 and could lead to the first ren­o­va­tions per­formed at the el­e­men­tary/ middle school since 1990.

“The study takes into ac­count all sce­nar­ios so that it gives the district and school board the flex­i­bil­ity in de­ter­min­ing what it wants done but the bulk of what has been pro­posed to the board and what the board is con­sid­er­ing is … HVAC, elec­tri­cal, plum­ing and bring­ing the build­ing up to code ,” Young noted Wed­nes­day in an email.

The district would have to ei­ther float a bond or se­cure a loan to pay for the work, if the school board opts to move for­ward with study rec­om­men­da­tions, she said.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from EI As­so­ciates will present in­for­ma­tion to the school board in De­cem­ber, she said.

The ar­chi­tec­tural firm was asked to com­plete the study af­ter of­fi­cials de­ter­mined that aged boiler sat both the high school and middle school are in need of re­place­ment, school board Pres­i­dent Gi­rard Fewins Sr. said.

While the firm was ex­am­in­ing boil­ers, they pre­pared a study based on other items that they be­lieve could be ad­dressed to bring Weatherly Area schools into com­pli­ance with cur­rent ac­ces­si­bil­ity stan­dards, Fewins said.

“When you get into some big­ger stuff with the boil­ers, ADA (com­pli­ance) comes into play ,” Few ins said. “Once you take a loan for a cer­tain amount, other things have to be looked at, too.”

At this point, of­fi­cials don’t have a cost for re­plac­ing boiler sys­tems at both schools but Few ins said those projects would be a pri­or­ity if the board opts to move for­ward.

“We al­most lost two days last year at the high school be­cause the boil­ers weren’t run­ning,” he said.

Prices also hinge on whether the district would opt to re­place its oil burner sys­tems with ei­ther gas or oil sys­tems, he said.

“A de­ci­sion has to be made amongst us what’s go­ing to be best,” Fewins said.

The boiler sys­tem at the high school dates to 1990, when the build­ing was built, while the sys­tem that heats the el­e­men­tary/middle school is older by an es­ti­mated 20 to 30 years, Fewins said.

School di­rec­tors haven’t set­tled on a work scope or dis­cussed fi­nanc­ing at this point, Fewins added.

EI As­so­ciates, which also has of fices in New Jersey and Delaware, is in­volved in 35 pub­lic school projects through­out its ser­vice area, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s web­site.

Some of the work in­cludes high school up­grades at Ben­salem Twp. School District, middle school projects at Carlisle Area School District, con­struc­tion of a new el­e­men­tary school in Man­heim Cen­tral School District and el­e­men­tary school projects at Tri-Val­ley School District.

The firm also over saw con­struc­tion projects un­der­taken at a num­ber of col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties, as well as ath­letic fa­cil­ity im­prove­ments.

STAN­DARD-SPEAKER FILE

Weatherly Area School Board is spend­ing $5,000 for a fea­si­bil­ity study that could lead to the first ren­o­va­tions per­formed at the district’s el­e­men­tary/middle school since 1990.

YOUNG

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