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Old high school to be inspected

Published June 09. 2010 05:00PM

Coaldale Borough Council on Tuesday agreed to have its engineer inspect the old Coaldale High School to determine whether it is structurally sound.

Borough secretary Louise Lill will contact engineer Jennifer M. Kowalonek of Alfred Benesch & Company, the borough's engineering firm, to start the process and determine how much the inspection will cost.

The action, prompted by a motion by Councilman Andrew Girard, followed a lengthy discussion about the massive 1923 building at Sixth and W. Phillip streets.

Known as the Coaldale Complex, the building, which was closed as a high school in 1964, now houses the Carbon County Head Start program.

The program is remodeling its ground floor quarters in preparation for a new Early Head Start program that will serve an additional eight children.

Council has been concerned about the state of the building for a long time. Although the section that houses Head Start is well-maintained, the second floor and exterior have deteriorated.

On Monday, Rick Harmon of Barry Isett & Associates inspected the old school to see if it met building codes as part of Head Start's renovations.

Councilman David Yelito, who lives near the building, and Mayor Richard Corkery said they approached Harmon to point out what they believe are dangerous aspects of deterioration.

Harmon on Monday wrote to the borough listing several structural issues that need to be addressed.

Solicitor Michael Greek said Benesch will inspect the building for structural defects; Harmon's inspection was to see if it met maintenance code requirements.

Councilman Steve Tentylo, who represents the Coaldale Complex Committee, called Corkery's remarks - Corkery says the building is dangerous - "alarmist."

The results of the inspection may help council determine whether the borough should take over operations of the building from the Coaldale Complex Commission, which several council members say has become lax in its duties, or sell the building.

In other matters Tuesday, council authorized Greek to take legal action to recover any borough documents or materials in the possession of its former engineer, Edward Gaydos. Greek said Gaydos had not responded to letters or telephone messages.

Council also wants Code Enforcement Officer Mark Richards to attend meetings to establish better communication. Several people, including borough officials, have complained Richards is hard to reach.

Council also learned that police Sgt. Keith Krapf may return to work soon, and agreed to ask its Workers' Compensation carrier to get in touch with Krapf's doctors.

Krapf suffered fractured ribs and an injured shoulder when he was assaulted by a borough man, Ian Patrick McGregor, 25, of 110 E. High St. The assault allegedly happened after Krapf stopped McGregor's car after a near-head-on collision with Krapf's police cruiser. Another borough officer, Charles Andrew Blesse, arrived as Krapf stopped McGregor's car.

McGregor has since been released on bail.

Also on Tuesday, council approved a $4,880 project to replace windows in the borough hall basement. The work will be done by Radocha Excavating for $2,500 and by K&M Builders for $2,380. Both companies are located in Coaldale.

In other matters, council agreed to hire two part-time police officers, Todd Woodward and John Pruitte, on an as-needed basis, and to hire a part-time assistant, Rebecca Mantz, for Lill.

Council also granted a special parking permit for Marie Griffiths of Hair Mechanics. The permit would restrict one parking space in front of Griffith's business to customers only between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Griffiths paid $125 for the needed sign.

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