Palmerton Area School District's high school stadium bleachers project will soon commence.

Rob Sarnowski, of Barry Isett & Associates, informed the school board at a workshop session on Tuesday that the work is expected to start around Jan. 16.

Sarnowski said the $774,000 project will replace the grandstand and install a new weightroom roof.

"The work will not impinge on the spring sports," Sarnowski said. "We are leaving the visitors' side (bleachers) up until the spring sports season is over."

Discussion then shifted to the safety of the visitors' side bleachers, which Director Sherry Haas said "have been unsafe for years."

That prompted concerns from directors Josann Harry, Charles Gildner and Tammy Recker.

"My thought is if they're unsafe, we shouldn't use them at all," Harry said.

Recker added "if we're saying they're not safe, then we're kind of contradicting ourselves."

It appeared as though the consensus of the board is to not use the visitors' side bleachers throughout the spring sports season.

Also as part of his report, Sarnowski updated the board on the status of a pair of projects currently under construction.

The $99,469 stadium lighting project is anticipated to be completed by Jan. 13, while the $157,000 district water mitigation project is expected to be completed by Jan. 31.

Several projects Sarnowski said are in the design phase include the junior high school gymnasium, high school auditorium, high school ADA bathrooms, and high school door and windows.

As for grants, Sarnowski said with regard to alternative energy, the district has been shortlisted for a passive solar heating system, while applications are in the process for submission for accessibility and security.

Also on Tuesday, the board met with Henry Sallusti, the district's financial adviser, who discussed several options for the board to refinance its 2007 bond issue.

Sallusti told the board it could get advanced refunding, or it could wait until the call back date of the bond.

With advanced refunding, he said the district could realize a net savings of $106,000, compared to a potential $9,000 with the current refunding.

Sallusti recommended to the board that it take the advanced refunding option, whereby he said the savings would be "significant."

Board President Barry Scherer said the consensus of the board was to move forward with that option.