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Restoring high school roof could save district money

Published June 02. 2010 05:00PM

A project that would restore its high school roof rather than replace it could result in a substantial savings to Palmerton Area School District.

Alan Behnke of Tremko Roofing discussed the roof issue with the school board's Buildings and Grounds Committee on Tuesday.

Behnke said the cost to restore the leaky roof would be about $583,090, and would include the restoration of the boiler room roof. On the other hand, Behnke said the cost to replace the roof would be about $2 million.

Committee member Carol Dwyer suggested the district use its fund balance to pay for the project.

Superintendent Carol Boyce said the district has $1,799,151 left in its fund balance. Of that, Boyce said $1 million would have to be used to balance the budget, which would leave about $600,000 for the roof and $200,000 for other projects.

Committee member Barry Scherer weighed in on the matter.

"To me, it's becoming more and more apparent that we're going to have to take out a bond issue," Scherer said. "Sooner or later, we're going to have to face the music."

But, that's easier said than done, according to Scherer.

"What's difficult is we can't take a bond issue now because we don't have the money to pay it back," Scherer said. "We have to do whatever we have to do now."

Dwyer noted that it's the taxpayers who are shouldered with the burden to pay for such costly projects.

But, committee member Susan Debski said its best to phase in smaller increases over time.

"In the meantime, your buildings need repair, so what do you do? "Some things are wants and needs; I think the roof is a need."

Scherer agreed and said the district needs to be "proactive."

"We have a responsibility to the taxpayers to maintain their investments," Scherer said. "We can't turn our backs on that responsibility."

Also on Tuesday, Behnke told the committee the weightroom roof is in dire need of repair.

"It's in very poor condition," Behnke said. "On the metal deck of that building, there are two areas where the metal has rusted through, and it is structurally unsound."

Behnke noted that the roof cannot be done until the bleacher system is addressed. He said the cost to replace the roof would be about $133,076.

Or, the district could do a combined project that would cost $350,000; $200,000 for the bleachers, and $150,000 for the roof.

Dwyer then suggested the district build a pole building instead, but Behnke said dong so would cost anywhere from $1 million to $1.75 million.

Behnke told the committee that if the board were to commit to the project by its June 15 meeting, the high school roof could be done this summer.

In an unrelated matter, Boyce again brought up the high school stage.

She said the district still has $50,000 left in the McCall grant that's been set aside for the repair of the stage.

"The lighting definitely needs work," Boyce said. "You can't touch the lighting before you do the rigging."

Previous estimates for the stage ranged from $235,000 to $350,000.

Finally, the committee recommended that the district hire Godshall Kane Architects to produce a set of drawings and specifications to fix the steps at the S.S Palmer Elementary building side located by Third Street at a cost not to exceed $1,000.

Boyce previously said the district has $10,000 set aside in the Mccall grant to fix the steps.

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