Several of Palmerton Area School District's facilities have undergone a massive facelift in time for the start of this coming school year.
From its athletic bleacher replacement, to high school auditorium renovations, to its junior high school gymnasium, the facilities sport new looks amid a series of several high-end capital improvement projects.
Without question, the most noticeable to viewers on the outside is the athletic field bleacher replacement, which cost $774,000.
Upgrades include ADA accessibility to the field and around the site, and also ADA seating on the grandstand. The new grandstand, which bridges the weight room/field house below, includes a new larger press box with an accompanying photo deck on top. The weight room field house received a new roof, and all water infiltration issues have been resolved. The project also included new fencing and gates to secure the field's perimeter.
High school auditorium renovations came at a price tag of $928,700, and come with a new operable counterweight rigging system, curtains, theatrical lighting and sound controls. Also included are stage stairs, a sound control booth, carpeting, sound absorption panels, projection system and painting. The new auditorium also features ADA runway lighting and an ADA listening system.
The junior high school gymnasium cost $366,200, and includes ADA accessible seating, a new multipurpose athletic flooring incorporating a basketball court, volleyball court, and two practice volleyball courts. Also included is a new scoreboard, and ongoing moisture issues beneath the slab have been resolved.
Athletic field lighting requirements cost $90,489 for the replacement of the old lighting poles and fixtures with the Musco Lighting Structure Green. The Green technology features consistent light levels with reduced energy consumption with spill and glare control features. This technology reduces operating and maintenance costs, addresses safety concerns, and results in improved lighting on the football field.
High school restroom renovations came in at $103,000 for ADA accessible bathrooms and fixtures, as well as new tile, bathroom fixtures and efficient lighting controls.
Last, but not least, the high school front door replacement cost $68,906, and comes with ADA accessibility, easier access and improved security.
Superintendent Carol Boyce said that in 2010, the district took out a $5 million bond issue, and refinanced several previous bonds, to pay for the projects.
Also at around that same time, Boyce said the district enlisted the services of Barry Isett & Associates as its engineer of record. The firm devised a lengthy list of potential projects for the district to consider, she said.
"They've been advising us with a needs/cost analysis, as the initial list was always intended to be flexible," Boyce said. "They have been truly our partners in helping the board to prioritize."
Joe Faenza, director of facilities, came aboard in 2011, and has played a vital role as well, Boyce said.
Boyce said all of the projects have been done with the best interest of the district's taxpayers, students and staff in mind.
"In the last four years, we have done a huge amount of preservation, safety and handicapped accessibility," she said. "I think the public is going to be very pleased with what they'll see this fall."
The first day of classes in the district are Monday, August 27.