Highlands to repair, not remove, clock tower atop Tarentum school |
Valley News Dispatch

Highlands to repair, not remove, clock tower atop Tarentum school

Brian C. Rittmeyer
File photo | Tribune-Review
The clock tower atop Highlands Elementary School, formerly Grandview Elementary, in Tarentum. The Highlands School Board is considering seeking bids to repair the tower to stop water from getting inside the building.

There’s apparently no reason to re-create the “Save the clock tower!” scene from “Back to the Future” in Tarentum.

The Highlands School District is going to be moving forward with repairing the landmark tower atop Highlands Elementary School, formerly known as Grandview, school board President Debbie Beale said.

The district will also replace the clock there with a new one that works, she said.

But first things first means repairing the tower’s brick and roof to stop water from getting into the building and affecting classrooms below.

“There’s leakage. It is a problem in at least one or two rooms,” Beale said. “It’s got to be addressed. Nobody wants water in their building. It causes more problems.”

Mold is one of those possible problems. This school year, Highlands High School students started the year two days later than the rest of the district and had to make those days up because of mold concerns in their building.

The water leaking into the elementary school is being contained and the rooms are still being used, but “not like it should be,” Beale said.

“It’s a space we need. It’s a big space,” she said.

The school board is expected to vote Monday on paying an architect about $22,000 to prepare documents the district can use to get bids for the work.

Beale said the work, which would include setting up scaffolding, would be done this summer while students are not in the building.

Beale said the district explored an option raised by board member Judy Wisner in November to remove the tower instead of repairing it.

Although unpopular, Beale said the district had a responsibility to explore it. They found removing it would cost more than fixing it.

The one front-facing clock remaining in the tower has not worked for many years. Rather than spending $70,000-to-$80,000 to get the existing antiquated clock mechanism working again, Beale said the district will get something new and less costly to have the clock operational again.

Beale said there are business owners willing to contribute to the work, and the district would welcome any other donations toward it.

Brian Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.