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Plum Officials to Negotiate Demo, Construction Agreements for New School

The administration has gotten the go-ahead to negotiate agreements for the demolition of a current school and construction of a new school.

Plum school officials are moving along with plans to build a new school.

On Tuesday, the Plum School Board voted 8-1 to authorize district administration to negotiate agreements with L.R. Kimball, Russo Construction, and PA Soil and Rock for the demolition of Adlai Stevenson Elementary School and construction of a new school at the site. Board member Loretta White dissented.

The entities all performed work at the new George Pivik Elementary School.

Current plans call for a new school at the Adlai Stevenson site, the immediate closure of Holiday Park Elementary—Regency Park Elementary also could close in the future—and the redistricting of all students.

The project is estimated to cost between $18.2 and $18.7 million (very rough estimate, according to officials), and it could take up to two years to complete once construction starts. During that time, Adlai students would take classes at the old Pivik Elementary School building.

However, officials have said that an exact cost and timeline wouldn't be known until talks begin with the design team.

White, who favored renovating Adlai versus building a new school, said she doesn't think the plan is "fiscally responsible."

She said the district could save $5 million to $7 million with renovations, and she worries about the amount of time students would be relocated during construction.

"I know as it is now, we are saying we're in a deficit situation," she said. "And, really, the state has cut educational spending. I just think we're in a lot of trouble and I don't think it's the way to go."

Board member Sal Colella said the district hasn't experienced a tax increase in the last three years, and already has built a new school.

"I think we're doing everything right," he said. "This is another addition to doing the right thing, at the right time, at the right place."

Board member Andy Drake agreed.

"I believe this is the best long-term value for the district," he said.

Board member Shane McMasters thanked the administration for all the work they've put into compiling information for the project.

"We have great ideas that have been presented, and we're certainly moving in the right direction," he said.

The next facilities committee meeting is on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 6 p.m.

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