CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield Area School District Board of Directors on Monday night approved expanding the Clearfield Area High School into grades seven through twelve.
In addition, the district’s central administrative offices would relocate to the high school campus. The board neither decided anything regarding the fate of the district’s elementary buildings, nor about the construction of a new maintenance facility.
The high school expansion project received approval, 5-2, with board members Dave Glass, Tim Morgan, Rick Schickling, Mary Anne Jackson and Jennifer Wallace all voting for the same. Board members Phil Carr and Susan Mikesell voted down the motion, while board members Dr. Michael Spencer and Larry Putt were absent.
Last week, the board discussed options by which it could reduce the expenses involved with the high school’s expansion project. Superintendent Dr. Thomas B. Otto said he’d recently toured the building with high school and district administrators and counted the current number of classrooms.
According to Otto, it became apparent to them during the tour that the three-story addition originally planned as part of the expansion project wouldn’t be necessary. The district could trim its high school renovation costs to $32,636,500 by eliminating the addition, he said.
On Monday night, Otto sought additional feedback from the board about its preferences for reducing the size of the new gymnasium from 1,000 to 500 seats to save $306,000; reducing the size of the high school office area to save $100,000; and whether air conditioning should be completely or partially installed.
When asked by Glass, J. Greer Hayden of HHSDR Architects/Engineers, the district’s architect, told the board it would be more costly to install an air conditioning system later and proposed the board bid out its installation separately.
Otto expressed concern about the potential loss of storage space if it reduced the size of the new gymnasium. He said that while a part of another district’s building project, adequate storage space wasn’t allowed and band uniforms were hung on racks in the hallway.
Schickling said he’d rather reduce the gymnasium and its accompanied storage space now and add it again later if determined necessary. “I think $306,000 is an awful lot for storage space” to which Hayden reminded Schickling that the area would also house technology services.
Otto didn’t find reducing the sizes of the gymnasium and high school offices as “deal breakers.” However, he wanted to “lobby” for air conditioning. The board agreed to constructing a smaller gymnasium and high school office and to collecting two separate bids for complete and partial installation of air conditioning.
According to a prior GantDaily report, some board members recently met with the district’s former interim Superintendent Dr. J. Thomas Frantz to review its building plans under option 9 as proposed by Hayden.
Frantz then questioned the size of the expansion at the high school campus. He suggested deleting the three-story addition, reducing the new gymnasium from 1,000 to 500 seats and eliminating an office and storage room.
According to him, the three-story addition was “too big” and the existing space at the high school could be used more efficiently. Also, because of student population figures, seven classrooms per subject area wouldn’t be necessary, while teachers could move around and share resources.
Last week, Hayden presented his revised option 9 to the board and its impact upon each floor of the high school building based on feedback given after the board members’ meeting with Frantz.
In addition to deleting the three-story addition, reducing the new gymnasium by 500 seats and the size of the high school office, the addition of two life skills classrooms were eliminated from the first floor plan, a technology services area from the second floor plan and chemistry classrooms from the third floor plan.
Previously, construction costs were estimated at $30,383,000 for the high school expansion project, including the district administrative office. However, if the district deleted the three-story addition/technology services addition, it would save $2,690,000, Hayden said.
He said that reducing the new gymnasium to 500 seats and the size of the high school office addition would save $306,000 and $100,000, respectively. He added if the district deleted total building air conditioning, it could save another $600,000.
If plans for the high school are initiated this month or early next, its construction could potentially get under way next summer. The high school expansion project would last approximately 18 months and wouldn’t be completed until December 2013.