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Consensus On Ringing Renovations: $16M

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Although no official decision has yet been made, it appeared increasingly likely Tuesday (April 14, 2009) that the Pottsgrove School District will move toward a roughly $16 million renovation and expansion of Ringing Rocks Elementary School. It could add up to seven new classrooms, refurbish its existing gym, and significantly upgrade its library.

Teachers in the audience during Tuesday's school board meeting examine layout drawings for proposed renovations at Rining Rocks Elementary School.

Teachers in the audience during Tuesday's school board meeting examine drawings for proposed renovations at Ringing Rocks.

Public reaction to three renovation options presented Tuesday, during a meeting of the district Board of School Directors, generally favored either of two expansion scenarios, and opposed a third bare-bones plan to address only structural issues at the 47-year-old building that has been updated twice before.

  • This story is an overview only. Several items from Tuesday’s meeting will be covered separately in greater detail this week by The Post.

Board members expect it will take several more months before they agree on renovation specifics, and formally vote on a proposal. That would mark the start of a year-long, state-supervised planning and financing process, followed by up to another two years of construction staged so students continued to occupy the school. Consequently, the project – assuming no interruptions or complications – would be completed by 2012.

The suggested $16+ million-dollar-price tag for renovations to Ringing, 1401 Kauffman Rd., is $7 million less than a conceptual plan presented to the board last September by its architects, and is $21 million less than a menu of district-wide facility upgrades shown to the public last November. It also is $8 million more than the bare-bones option would have cost.

Interaction between board members and the audience was generally pleasant and calm, presenting a stark contrast to the often turbulent and sometimes rancorous discussions of five years ago when the former Pottsgrove Middle School was renovated to become the new Lower Pottsgrove Elementary.

Also during the meeting, the board:

  • Voted to accept bids to re-finance $9.3 million in previously issued bonds, saving the district more than $270,000 in interest costs.
  • Heard about the district’s interest in participating in the federal government’s Energy Star program, which it believes could help reduce energy consumption.

Related (to Ringing Rocks building renovations):

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