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‘Grove’s Smallest Renovation: What To Do With ‘Patio?’

The walled, circular courtyard or patio in front of Pottsgrove High School has been in a state of disrepair for years and isn't being used. What happens to it in proposed renovations at the building?

The walled, circular patio in front of Pottsgrove High School has been in a state of disrepair for years and isn’t being used. What happens to it in proposed renovations at the building?

A mascot falcon statue atop its matel hasn't fared well either

A mascot falcon statue atop its mantel hasn’t fared well either

POTTSTOWN PA – Some folks in the Pottsgroves, including a couple of members of the Board of School Directors, refer to it as a “patio.” Officially, according to one news report of years ago, it was considered a “presentation area.” Those inclined to be less charitable label it as “ugly” or “an eyesore.”

To be sure, strong opinions are held about the value of a circular, brick wall-enclosed concrete slab at the northeast side of the Kauffman Road entrance to Pottsgrove High School. It’s adorned at one end with a larger-than-life – and a few claim equally unsightly and even scary – statue of a mascot falcon.

There seems to be near unanimous agreement that something should be done with, or to, the area to make it more attractive and usable. The waist-high wall’s top mantel is chipped and crumbling. Its brickwork is streaked with efflorescence, caused by severe water penetration and damage similar to that repaired at significant cost last year at Pottsgrove Middle School. And the falcon? That bird’s feathers look like they haven’t weathered well.

Although discussion of the patio’s future rates low on a scale of what’s important among $30 million worth of proposed high school renovations, the subject was nonetheless raised last Tuesday (April 23, 2013) by Michael Kelly, principal of project development at KCBA Architects. The school board hired his firm to conduct a feasibility study on upgrading and repairing the building, which is the subject of a second public meeting tonight (Monday, April 29, 2013) at 7:30 in the high school cafeteria, 1345 Kauffman Rd.

Kelly chose a path of politeness in talking about the space. “It’s not in a nice state,” he admitted, as heads in the Tuesday night audience nodded in assent. “It isn’t being utilized,” he added.

While the masonry that embodies it is “falling apart,” as Kelly put it, it remains “a great space.” He envisions it might be returned to its originally intended purpose, for use in concerts staged by the high school band, its various ensembles, or choruses.

The problem there, some in the audience suggested, is a lack of adequate listener seating. Another problem, board members hinted, is that the space could remain little-used and still require maintenance and upkeep. “Maybe we should just get rid of it,” was the rumble heard among directors. Nothing’s been decided yet, and won’t be until June, according to Superintendent Shellie Feola.

What might stay, although located elsewhere and the probably only if it can be refurbished, is what was said to be the gift of the gray-and-now-pink (faded from maroon) falcon statue.

Related (to Pottsgrove High reconstruction):

Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ April 23 meeting):

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