Could Palmerton's junior high school gymnasium eventually serve as a satellite cafeteria?

That idea was broached by Superintendent Scot Engler at a workshop meeting of the board of school directors on Tuesday.

However, Engler stressed that the concept was merely in the preliminary discussion phase.

"It's a work in progress," Engler said. "It could have a tremendous benefit for students in both buildings."

Engler said the primary benefits are that it would allow the high school to consider other scheduling options, and ensure that the junior high would no longer be reliant on the high school to use its cafeteria.

Director Sherry Haas said she would be open to the idea, as long as it wouldn't detract in any way from the students.

Engler said the absolute earliest the concept would be implemented would be in the 2014-15 school year.

Also on Tuesday, the board heard an update on the status of several projects from Joseph Faenza, director of facilities.

Faenza said the sidewalk project is on schedule, and set to be completed in time for the start of school.

In May, the board awarded a contract to F.A. Rohrbach, Inc. of Allentown, to replace sidewalks at its high school/junior high school complex in the amount of $199,890.

The project is to replace sidewalks/curbing at the high school entrance, the junior high school entrance, by the junior high school gym, along the west side toward the stadium, and along the east side.

Faenza said there is one change order to replace about 200 linear feet curb along the west side bordering the student parking lot, and to add some additional sidewalk around the modular of about 40 square feet. The total change order is $7,233, he said.

The boiler project is also on schedule, and expected to be completed in time for the start of school, Faenza said.

In March, the board awarded a contract for the hot water and boiler replacement bid to Blanski, Inc. of Reading, Berks County.

The contract includes the base bid amount of $296,300, along with four alternates at $229,500, for a total project cost of $525,800.

Alternates are for a domestic water heater, and to remove the current heater and several abandoned tanks at S.S. Palmer Elementary; a new domestic hot water system at the high school; and to remove the trash incinerator in the high school.

The boilers/heater at Palmer were 48 years old, and the high school water heater, 49 years old.

Both projects were paid from out of the $5 million bond the district took out in 2010, at which time it also refinanced several previous bonds.