CLEARFIELD – J. Greer Hayden, of HHSDR Architects/Engineers, offered his input on the Clearfield Area School District’s feasibility study at Monday night’s regular board meeting.
Hayden said although he found the study thorough, he believed the district needed a clearer direction before moving forward.
He said the current study left too many options. He, however, indicated the recommendation by the study’s advisory committee made a lot of sense.
Under the current recommendation, the middle school would close its doors. The high school would undergo an expansion to add a seventh and eighth grade wing. In addition, all of the district’s elementary schools would remain open and “unlikely” to see renovation at the present time.
Hayden said he had the opportunity to walk through the middle school. He said he noticed some of the new improvements.
He said the middle school was in poor condition and has a lot of needs. He said it would require a lot of dollars to continue sustaining the facility.
He also noted the “very poor” roof conditions at the high school. He said the access to both the school and the surrounding athletic facilities would drive some considerations.
“(I think) everyone needs to clearly understand the condition of the facilities,” he said, of the district’s school buildings.
Hayden said enrollment projections will drive the decision making process. He said enrollment is expected to drop over the next 10 years. He said the district’s enrollment history also shows a steady decline.
Hayden said the district needs to determine the appropriate proceedings for the study. In doing so, he said they must first determine the grade configuration and consider options that support the same.
He said they then need to update their facilities’ evaluation, as time has passed since the study was completed. He said they should research construction options and cost estimates.
“Lay the options out for the community. Help them understand the magnitude,” he said. “See what the community thinks.”
Hayden said once the district has committed to improvements, they need to prioritize them based on importance.
Hayden said the firm is willing to help the board move forward and reach a decision point.
“We’re looking at spending $30-40 million. We need to take every precaution,” said Superintendent Richard C. Makin.
Board Vice President Dave Glass reminded the board it had been a year and was a good idea for the study to be updated.
“We’ve been collecting information for a long time. We need to move forward toward making a decision,” he said.
Makin emphasized that the board was only in the discussion phase. He also sated that they need to further engage the public.
Click here to read previous coverage of the feasibility study.