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Verta building to come down

  • TIMES NEWS file photo
    TIMES NEWS file photo
Published May 27. 2011 05:04PM

A dilapidated former industrial building next to the Panther Valley stadium in Lansford will be torn down.

The Panther Valley School Board on Thursday agreed to seek bids for the job of demolishing the building, at 401 W. Bertsch St.

The school district in June 2010 bought the building for about $800 at a Carbon County tax sale. The building had been owned by Bennett Verta Jr., who had planned to operate an industrial soap factory, Everbrite Industries, there. But he eventually lost the building to back taxes.

The red brick building has been deteriorating for years. Large portions of the roof are gone, and the walls closest to the stadium appear to be bowed.

Lansford's code enforcement officer, Katheryn Labosky, had cited Verta numerous times for the building's state.

In January of 2010, District Judge Casimir Kosciolek of Lansford, fined Verta $9,000 for failing to make repairs and called the building an "absolute eyesore."

In December, a hazardous materials contractor for the state Department of Environmental Protection began to clear industrial chemicals, including various acids and hydrogen peroxide and other materials, from the building.

In other matters Thursday, the school board approved the final payment of $162,125.05 to Schneider Electric for a $3.2 million project that school officials say will save the district more than a million dollars in energy costs.

District resident John J. Barna, who has been a vocal critic of the project, again questioned the board about its cost.

The board also listened as member David Hiles asked the board to support an effort by outside organizations to maintain and operate the district's swimming pool.

The pool is on the chopping block as the board searches for ways to cut costs in light of drastic cuts in state funding. The elimination of the swim team is figured to save about $15,000, and closing of the pool would save about $50,000.

The cuts were included when the school board on May 12 approved a $22,984,872 preliminary budget.

The spending plan reflects a loss of $1.3 million in state funding, and also proposes cutting a school tutoring program, PSSA prep coaches, and funding for the library as well as golf and cross country.

Also on Thursday, the board approved the hiring of six football coaches, one of whom, Ian Schreffler, is a volunteer. The others are Paul McArdle Jr., $2,100; Ben Tkach, $1,800; Dave Haninchick, $1,800; Broc Hazlet, $1,800; and John Ruzicka, $1,605.

Volleyball coaches hired are Nancy Filer, $3,450; LouAnn Brida, $1,550; and volunteer Johnna Yurko.

William Lynn was hired for $1,825 as the junior high girls' basketball coach, with Josh Wank and Roman Baran as volunteers.

Hallie Seiwell was hired as cheerleading coach for $1,625; Heidi Seiwell at $737.50 and Jillian Miller as a volunteer.

Superintendent Rose Mary Porembo congratulated athletic director Kristin Black, who was named Schuylkill League's AD of the Year.

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