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Installation of new bleachers could cause hardships in Palmerton

Published August 03. 2011 05:02PM

Work to replace its stadium bleachers in late fall could cause hardships for Palmerton Area School District down the road.

Demolition of the bleachers is scheduled to begin in November sometime after Thanksgiving, the school board learned at a committee workshop on Tuesday.

Rob Sarnowski, of Barry Isett & Associates, informed the board that the current stadium bleachers are a "real safety concern."

Sarnowski said the new bleachers should be installed in time for the start of the 2012-13 school year.

However, Superintendent Carol Boyce said such a time frame would disrupt both track and field practice, as well as girls soccer practice, not to mention high school graduation.

With regard to graduation, Boyce said the district would either have to hold commencement exercises inside the high school gymnasium, another site within the district, or perhaps even a site outside the district.

"We will do everything we can to minimize disruption," Boyce said. "If possible, maybe we can rope off areas, do chain link fencing, and create both safe work zones and safe areas for activity."

Also on Tuesday, Sarnowski told the board the high school roof replacement project is estimated to be completed by Aug. 15.

In May, the board agreed to award the project to Budget Renovations and Roofing in the amount of $1,288,942, to be paid from the 2010 bond fund.

In an unrelated matter, the board expressed concerns over interdistrict busing issues after it met in executive session for about 40 minutes.

Board solicitor David Shulman said the district learned in late-winter, early spring, that Pleasant Valley School District was sending tits students to Palmerton, which would then transport them to St. John Neumann Regional School's Slatington campus.

The problem, Shulman said, was that the Pleasant Valley students were being transported well beyond a 10-mile radius. The district is not obligated to provide transportation to nonpublic schools for students within their own district.

"We informed Pleasant Valley that if the practice would continue, they will have to pay a cost," Shulman said. "They informed me they do not want to."

Shulman said the issue is whether the district wanted to continue to transfer Pleasant Valley students beyond the 10-mile radius at no cost.

The board appeared to favor continuing the practice to allow Pleasant Valley students on the district's bus runs at no cost.

Shulman then recommended that Pleasant Valley indemnify the district, and that the Pleasant Valley parents of students on that bus sign an agreement regarding their own students.

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