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$11 million to be borrowed to renovate elementary school

Published May 12. 2010 05:00PM

Northern Lehigh School District has agreed to borrow $11 million to help afford a wide-scale renovation project at Slatington Elementary.

The school board on Monday unanimously agreed to approve the bond resolution as presented by bond council to authorize the issuance of general obligations debt series of 2010 for $11 million.

In a related matter, the board also approved the submission of PlanCon F to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the additions and alterations to Slatington Elementary.

The board approved the resolution after it heard a presentation from financial consultant Les Baer. Baer said the resolution was part of a parameters resolution the district has had in place since 2004.

"This will allow you to phase in the impact to minimize the millage increase," Baer said. "Next year, we will do a final bond issue to afford the project."

Baer said that as of Sept. 1, 2015, the board will have the opportunity to refund the issue.

The bond will be taken out of the 2010-11 budget, whereby the district will use .95 mills of its tax base to this year's budget, .7 mills to next year's, and a one-third mill the following year.

It is estimated the state will reimburse the district $5,095,000 for the project. Construction is expected to last about 20 months.

In January, the board agreed to adopt the Act 34 resolution, which calls for a total project cost of $20, 432,466.

The district is accepting bids for additions and renovations to the school until 3:30 p.m. June 9, at which time they will be publicly open.

Contracts will be for general construction, plumbing construction, including fire protection, HVAC construction, electrical construction and asbestos abatement by owner.

Alternate bids will be for single prime general construction, as well as asbestos abatement by owner.

A mandatory prebid conference will be conducted for all contracts at 3:30 p.m. May 19 at the school.

As per the plan, the school will maintain its grade 3-6 configuration, and also add six classrooms to address space concerns.

Also, the plan will reconfigure open concept classrooms into individual classrooms, and construct an addition to house the third grade.

In addition, the gymnasium will remain in its current location; a movable partition will be added for program flexibility; the existing locker area will be modified to increase gym seating capacity; and secure community access will be provided.

The plan will also allow for the elementary offices to be relocated to the first floor entrance; a new two-story complex to be built at the front of the building to house the district's administration offices; former modular offices to be removed; and direct public access to be provided to district administration offices without requiring access to the school.

The district believes the plan will maintain the desired grade configuration; the location of the elementary offices to the front entrance will be improved; the removal of district administration offices from the school will improve security for both by avoiding the mixing of the public and students; and will combine the district administration offices into one facility to improve operating efficiencies.

Based upon enrollment projections that predict steady enrollment to slightly declining enrollment over the next 10 years, the project isn't required to increase overall district capacity.

The enrollment projections were evaluated through PDE data, as well as Pennsylvania Economy League data.

Also, the consolidation of the district administration offices from temporary modular construction could allow PDE reimbursement in the amount of 25 to 33 percent on a yearly basis over the course of the next 15 years.

Constructed in 1971, the school is the only one of four buildings in the district never to have undergone any renovation work.

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