Plum Borough School District officials continue to explore the option of building a new Adlai Stevenson Elementary School—and closing Holiday Park Elementary— but one school member is opposing the idea of building a school from scratch.
Officials have been discussing building/renovation options in an effort to make the district more efficient. In 2012, the district's 3,976 students accounts for the lowest enrollment in more than 15 years, according to Superintendent Timothy Glasspool—the number is expected to drop to 2,001 in 2022, according to the district's 10-year demographic study.
Last month, the school board asked district administration to compile more information regarding the possibility and feasibility of building a brand new Adlai Stevenson at the existing site.
Currently, the district has about $16.6 million available to fund the project. Officials also are refinancing bonds in an effort to obtain more money—about $969,000 from a 2006 series and $5.5 million from a 2003 and 2005 series.
Glasspool presented two options—building a school similar to the new George Pivik Elementary School, using the same design and floor plan; and building a brand new school with its own design.
School Similar to Pivik
Officials are in the process of determining whether or not they can use the existing site plans for the new Pivik Elementary to build an identical school at the Adlai Stevenson site.
Glasspool and other officials will be meeting with the design team from the Pivik project to see if that would be a viable option.
Glasspool said if it is possible, the project would cost about $18.2 million (a very rough estimate) and possibly follow this schedule:
- Design revision in December 2012
- Awarding project bids in May 2013
- Occupy the new building September 2014
- Students from the school would be relocated to the old Pivik Elementary School during the 2013-14 school year.
Brand New Building
However, if the district can't use the already-existing designs, officials would have to hire architects to draw new plans—it would delay the process a bit and cost $500,000 more (roughly) than the previous option.
The estimated $18.7 million project would follow this schedule:
- Begin the design process in December 2012
- Award bids in August 2013
- Occupy the new building in December 2014
- Students would be relocated to the old Pivik from September 2013 to December 2014
Regardless of what option is chosen, Holiday Park Elementary School would close and redistricting throughout the entire school district would occur for the 2013-14 school year.
Glasspool stressed that officials wouldn't know the exact cost and timeline of the projects until a design team is chosen and estimates come in.
Board member Loretta White said she has been opposed to a new school building since the beginning. Instead, White said she favored an option in which Adlai would be completely renovated with a new addition—she said that option would save the district about $7 million.
"That is a lot of money," she said.
Board member Sal Colella disagreed, saying the school is centrally located, and the district would be saving about $635,743 annually—about $31 million over a 35-year period—if it closes Holiday Park.
"It's absolutely the right time," he said.
District administration said they would report to the board with more information next month.