The Tamaqua Area School District will tackle two top priorities on a list of potential capital projects provided by its facilities manager.

That means the girls locker room and bathrooms at Tamaqua Area High School are next in line for renovations.

The district's finance committee met Tuesday evening and reviewed the list of possible projects provided by Facilities Manager Arthur Oakes, Jr.

The school board had previously been presented with the wish list during its budget preparation in the spring. Connie Ligenza, the district's business manager, said the 2010-11 budget contains a line item of $600,000 for capital projects.

Oakes' list includes areas in need of attention in the district's five school buildings, administrative office and stadium and fields. The total estimated cost for all of the projects was listed at $2,665,300.

"These are not presented for shock and awe value, but to make you aware of the kinds of things that need repair," Superintendent Carol Makuta said. "We want to address things as we can."

Oakes also narrowed the capital projects into a Top 12 list, which carried a total estimated price tag of $1,108,500.

Those 12 items included the high school girls locker rooms at $425,000; high school bathroom upgrades, $40,000; middle school security system, $26,000; middle school loading dock repairs, $12,000; new air conditioning units, West Penn Elementary School, $120,000; fire alarm upgrades, West Penn, $24,000; fire alarm upgrades, Rush Elementary School, Hometown, $20,000; basement mold remediation, district office, $11,500; completion of the Rush Elementary roof, $250,000; and flooring at Rush Elementary, $112,000.

The girls locker rooms are located on the first floor of the high school, between the gym and natatorium.

Board President Larry A. Wittig said the district had previously fixed the girls locker rooms, at least cosmetically. Makuta said the ceiling had been torn down before and patched up.

"The problem is the sweating of pipes ... the lack of ventilation," said Wittig. "We should do it so it doesn't happen again."

Wittig took issue with the cost estimate. "You could buy one heck of a house for $425,000," he mentioned.

Oakes said the estimate might even be higher than that, due to the amount of plumbing and tile work required. The district would also need to pay prevailing wage due to the cost of the project.

"Mechanical trades cost a lot of money, and this is not an open room," explained Oakes. "We won't know how much it will cost until we put it out to bid."

Ligenza suggested adding the high school bathroom upgrades to the locker room project as an alternate during the bidding process.

"It does make sense, but they are two different projects," said Oakes. "They are at two different locations, far apart. The bathrooms are a huge undertaking because they need to be gutted."

"If we move forward with the locker rooms, when will they be ready to go?" asked Board Treasurer Daniel E. Schoener, the finance committee chairman.

Oakes, who earlier related the project might need a summer to be completed, said the district has already talked to McClure, which has been in charge of Tamaqua Area's energy savings project, about the locker room project and ventilation issues.

Makuta felt the renovations could help the district conserve water and make the project potentially more budget neutral.

"There's no reason not to move forward, because it's in the budget," said Schoener.

There was also discussion about new flooring for Rush Elementary. Schoener questioned whether completing the roof project should be the first priority. "Do we put in a new carpet and then get leaks?" he asked.

Oakes said there are no leaks in the Rush roof right now. The roof project has been on hold for awhile, and Oakes noted that if the estimate figure could still be held, it could be taken off the list again.

Makuta said the district will move ahead with the locker room and tie in the bathroom upgrades as an addition.