Quakertown school board officials said last Thursday the district will be moving forward with its $50-$60 million high school renovation project, beginning as early as June.
The project will target several key areas in need of updating at the circa 1954 school, including the eastern section of the building near 5th Street and Park Avenue which has serious moisture and drainage problems.
The district also has plans for a new geothermal HVAC system (converted from gas), various alterations to make the space handicapped compliant, redoing the tennis courts and possibly installing artificial turf in the football stadium, if financially feasible, among other updates.
The renovations were based on a 2010 study by the district’s architect, The Architectural Studio of Allentown. The project is expected to take four years to complete.
Bids for the project are expected to go out in November.
Board President Bob Smith encouraged community members to attend the next scheduled board meeting Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. The meeting will provide a detailed presentation and updated information from The Architectural Studio.
Smith discussed getting alternate bids for the proposed artificial turf as well as cost with business administrator and Treasurer Robert Riegel commenting, “If the overall budget comes in too high then it will need to be decided [turf or no turf].”
Smith focused mainly on the importance of fixing the moisture problems located in the basement and the need to remove several decades of important documents stored in boxes at the location.
He stressed much of the paperwork needs to be kept and converted to CDs which, in turn, is another added expense.
Smith informed board members, “Five dumpsters worth of trash was removed over the summer from the high school.” In an attempt to further remove “junk” from the school, he encouraged staff to throw useless items out throughout the school year as a way of cutting down trash removal once renovation begins.
School board officials were sparse in attendance at the meeting due to a Meet-the-Teacher night in the district, which left the attending members unable to vote on several agenda topics.
School board officials have also begun discussions regarding electric rates with Quakertown Borough Manager Scott McElree for the high school.
Smith stated, “We are working on more favorable rates.”
There are plans for further discussion with McElree before a final decision on electric rates is made.