ShareThis Page
District moves on high school upgrade |

District moves on high school upgrade

The Baldwin High School class of 1953 ventured back to the school for a reunion this summer. Some things hadn’t changed.

“They recognized their lockers,” said John Frombach, director of services for the Baldwin-Whitehall School District.

Those old, skinny lockers — some dating to the school’s beginning in 1939 — joined with small classrooms, narrow corridors, cracked floors, 75-year-old pipes, leaky windows, lack of security and fire protection, and restrooms that don’t comply with updated codes are just a short list of the problems facing the aging building.

The school board is looking into massive renovations and additions to the school off Route 51 south. On Wednesday, members voted to submit Plan Con A — detailed analysis of the current status of the district’s properties — to the state Board of Education. That report is required so the state can decide whether any undue burden is being placed on the taxpayers, Superintendent Charles Faust said.

By sending the report to the state now, the board hopes to avoid complications from a bill being mulled in Harrisburg. Senate Bill 100 would require a voter referendum for school districts proposing property tax increases that outweigh percentage increases in the statewide average weekly wage.

Exceptions to this, however, would include any debt incurred for school construction projects that received Plan Con A approval prior the bill becoming enacted.

The district wanted to speed up the process for state approval in hopes of receiving it before the bill is passed, Faust said.

The board also authorized the district’s financial planner to develop a $9.75 million bond sale to be used for the initial phases of the project, which is estimated to cost around $45 million, Faust said. The district’s financial planner is suggesting the board issue bonds of $10 million spread over five years to finance the project.

HHSDR Architects/Engineers of Sharon, Mercer County, the school district’s contracted architects, surveyed district buildings and also presented conceptual designs to the board Wednesday for a renovations and additions to the high school.

The firm’s favored design is a $56.7 million plan that would increase the high school’s square footage from 350,000 to 443,000 and increase the building’s capacity by 300 students to 2,000 total, said J. Greer Hayden, the company’s executive vice president. Classroom space would also increase by 150 to 200 square feet per room, he said.

The plan will keep portions of the building that are in good condition — like the boiler room, library and kitchen area — while adding a new pool and gymnasium to complement the existing gymnasium, which would remain, according to the plans. The plan would also move Beall Drive to accommodate additions to the front entrance of the building. Baldwin High School was built in 1939. It was renovated and expanded in 1957, 1964 and 1998. Other renovations took place in 1979, 1985 and 1990.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.