CLEARFIELD – A single telephone call resulting in new information about state regulations has presented a roadblock for the Clearfield school board, as it weighs location and construction options for the Central Administrative Offices as part of the district-wide feasibility study.
“If they’re separate from any building, then it’s going to present issues, but I’m glad we found out now. It’s just been one challenge after another,” Superintendent Dr. Thomas B. Otto said at Monday night’s combined committee and board meetings.
J. Greer Hayden of HHSDR Architects/Engineers called the architect at the state’s Department of Education whom related if the administrative offices were unattached, it would preclude the district from spending more than $619,000 without a referendum and subsequent taxpayer approval.
Hayden is currently exploring two locations at the Clearfield Area High School, where administrative offices could be attached. His prospective ideas construct additions at either the building’s entrance near the drafting area, or onto the rear by the art wing. Also, an addition to the high school would qualify the district for a state reimbursement between $130,000 and $140,000.
“He’s really looking at the drafting area, because the utilities are already there,” said Rick Bunning, director of buildings and grounds. When asked by board President Dave Glass, Otto confirmed the district would be required to seek approvals from PDE if it opted to lease or purchase a building to house the administrative offices.
Otto toured the Centre Elementary School after former faculty member Gail Ralston proposed relocating the administrative offices there at the board’s regular meeting in March. She recommended consolidating to one classroom per grade at Centre and using the wing for administration.
Enrollment figures obtained by Ralston indicated that 551 students currently attend CES, and its limit is approximately 600 students. She posited that some students could be relocated from Centre to CES, and everyone would “still fit.”
Ralston pointed out that a new administration building would run the district $1.39 million, and it would be another $.90 million for the new maintenance facility. In 2008, the district spent $397,093 for a new roof at Centre, she said.
However, Otto on Monday night admitted while there was certainly space available at Centre for the administrative offices, it would require building renovations. Hayden advised him once the building was altered, there wasn’t any stopping there.
“We would have to do the whole thing and invest some money,” Otto said. “. . . Hayden had a 3D image of our new administrative building. But we definitely can’t construct it for $619,000.”
Board member Jennifer Wallace asked him when Hayden was expected to present his ideas to them. She didn’t believe further discussion could wait until the board’s next meeting in May.
Otto said he’d contact Hayden to verify his plans for proceeding with a board presentation. Glass suggested the board could always “piggyback” the feasibility study discussion with its special budget meetings.