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Weatherly OKs firm for school projects

Published February 15. 2018 02:17PM

The Weatherly District School Board voted to take another step closer to ironing out details for a massive $10 million construction plan for renovations to both elementary and high school buildings.

In an 8-to-1 vote Wednesday, the board passed a resolution which included five points. The first major point in the document will be for the district to proceed with a 2018 feasibility study received from EI Associates.

The engineers will be involved in the design, construction and inspection services and preparation for future bidding options on alterations and renovations to the schools.

Board solicitor Daniel Miscavige said the resolution boils down to the board moving forward to the schematic phase, where EI will prepare drawings for different options for repairs, construction or the proposed school swap.

EI will then present the different options to the board for a cost of $5,000.

“An agreement may be made next month,” he said.

“This resolution is giving EI complete rein over the project, there are no checks and balances,” said board member Gerard Grega who attended the meeting by phone.

“It should be bid out separately, to maintain the integrity to the project. We shouldn’t hand over the entire project to EI,” he said.

Miscavige reminded Grega there is not yet a contract on the table.

“You may retain EI as an architect and retain separate contractors who could look at how to change things and get the bids out,” he said.

“Under this resolution you are relinquishing all control to EI. It’s not a contract but it’s alluding to it,” said Grega.

The second option presented was to completely change the high school to house elementary grades and send high school students to the elementary.

The cost of the swap will be an estimated $10,751,560 versus only conducting the repairs at a cost of $10,061,560.

The school swap would include new security measures along with a new $8,400 fence built on the property of the high school, interior and exterior work to both buildings, plumbing and electrical upgrades for both buildings.

All major repairs would still be executed under the lesser options, but grade levels would remain in their respective places.

The project was originally proposed in May of last year with a study conducted by EI over the summer.

By August EI had completed the study and presented the board with a priority list of repairs needed, the current condition of the buildings and the feasibility of expediting the proposed projects.

The elementary school was built in 1960 with the last interior upgrades conducted 30 years ago. The middle school was added in 1976 with additional classrooms attached in 1991.

Knepper made the point that while he is voting to move forward with the plans he is not in favor of the school swap.

Personnel

The board voted on administration changes in one sweeping motion.

Former elementary grade Principal Sandra Slavic was moved to supervisor of special programs with a salary of $84,287, while Anthony DeSpirito was moved from middle/high school principal to principal of prekindergarten through 12th grade for a salary of $83,000.

Joining the staff is newly hired PreK-12th grade Vice Principal Jeremy Stetler for $70,000.

Jennifer Coxe was hired as PIMS/data entry assistant at a salary of $35,000.

During public comment middle school secretary Beth Dolinsky voiced concerns about the new hire during public comment.

“The position was not posted,” she said.

“There are those of us who would have been interested. We have been here a lot of years.”

Superintendent Teresa Young said the position is new.

“I know. But why was it not offered to one of us who have been doing registration? I’ve been here 19 years and the high school secretary is making $10,000 less and has shown Jennifer everything she knows. She has been here 17 years. I don’t get it. We’re shocked,” Dolinsky said.

Business Manager Peter Bard said she is qualified.

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