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Committee: Pottsgrove High Needs Work, Not Renovation

POTTSTOWN PA – Two years ago, just as plans were gaining steam to rebuild Ringing Rocks Elementary School in the Pottsgrove School District, Business Administrator David Nester warned components of the nearby high school also would need replacement. Its roof, boiler, and air handlers all were between 15 and 20 years old, he said, and would require work soon.

Pottsgrove High School, Kauffman Road, as seen from the north

Now may be soon enough, the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ Facilities Committee thinks.

Directors suggested Tuesday night (Sept. 27, 2011) that Nester begin to get what committee Chairman Fred Remelius called “some ball park price tags” for repairs at the high school, 1345 Kauffman Rd., Pottstown, just a rolling hill away from Ringing Rocks. “We need major thinking at some point in the future” for projects there, Remelius noted, “before we have a surprise some day.”

Nester already had an unrefined estimate handy, based on talks with  Director of Facilities and Physical Plants Michael Katzenmoyer. Depending on what the district did and when, the two believe, costs might run from $4 million to $8 million, and could be covered by a combination of existing capital funds and potential surplus money remaining from Ringing’s reconstruction.

More precise figures will be researched in coming weeks, Nester promised.

Remelius pointedly noted he was not advocating renovations at the high school, which was last updated in 1996. The structure itself “is in good condition” he said, and likely will remain so “until the board is ready and the public is ready” to discuss reconstruction there too.

He cautioned, however, against delaying necessary repairs. In several instances, Remelius said, parts for high school systems’ machinery were already unavailable. For one component, he added, replacements would have to be “custom fabricated in Malaysia” and shipped here.

Remelius also recommended the administration equally apportion whatever millions remain in the capital projects account to ensure some money is set aside for each of the district’s five buildings. “We should ensure not all the money we’ve got left is spent at the high school; that there’s some left for other buildings too,” he said.

That strategy, if board members agree, probably means work at the high school would be done piecemeal and over a longer period.

Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ meeting of Sept. 27):

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