School district could restart building renovation process

JOYCE F. NOWELL, Echo Pilot

The ball could start rolling again on building plans in the Greencastle-Antrim School District.

The subject is at least back on the table after an engineering firm presented a rundown of services and timeline to the school board at its Feb. 21 work session. Scope of the plan involves a project of additions and renovations at the high and middle schools. A fee schedule for the work by Noelker and Hull Associates, Inc. of Chambersburg will be presented to the board at its March 7 meeting for consideration.

Mike Hull of Noelker and Hull Associates, Inc. told the board if they give the planning process a green light, it would still be several years until a decision is made whether to proceed with the actual building project.

"There would be plenty of time in the schedule to review and reflect.”

He added that a cost estimate would be possible by August of this year.

A $54 million building project that involved all the schools on campus was shelved by the school board in 2010.

“The purpose of tonight is to get the ball rolling again,” said Brian Hissong, board president. “We have population growth. This will give the board a blueprint; to have a plan.

“We asked them to come and start the process. His purpose is to find out if we have a board who even wants to consider it.”

Dr. Greg Hoover, superintendent, said, “We need to make sure you want to move forward.”

“We know we have to build in 2016-17, so why not start planning now?” said board member Tracy Baer.

Hoover added, “The question is can we wait until 2016? That will be part of the plan as to whether we will need to have some type of modular classroom usage.”

Joel Fridgen, board member, pointed out that if nothing is done on a possible building project during 2013 the district is in danger of losing a shot at state reimbursement on such a project. “Since we started and then stopped, we need to either continue or there is no guarantee the state would contribute any money,” Fridgen said.

Hoover added that the state has a moratorium on reimbursement currently, however the district was already in line. Officials said in order to stay in line the planning process needed to move forward.

Hull, president and principal-in-charge at the firm, explained that the scope of services he wants to propose would create a “comprehensive schedule that would get the project to financial viability in 2015-16.”

Noelker and Hull is proposing architectural and engineering services that will include assessing existing structures for renovation and proposing a plan for new construction. The firm would work to revise the building project program from 2010. That plan proposed construction between the middle and high schools aimed at shared use of facilities including cafeteria and library usage. Hoover said that aspect of the plan was a good one and would be revisited. He added that right now that thoughts of utilizing land the district has on the south side of Leitersburg Street would be cost prohibitive.

Hull said the assessments would include building and campus security, windows, roofs, telecommunications and energy systems, including the feasibility of geothermal.