New School Site to be Selected Tonight

ASD Board President Joseph Close and Solicitor Lee Price discuss an architect recommendation to make a resolution tonight at 7:30PM to solidify a site in Manor Township as the site of a proposed grades 9-12 high school for Kittanning and Ford City students.

by Jonathan Weaver

Armstrong School District board directors will further discuss and make a decision tonight as to where a proposed new high school will be located.

L.R. Kimball architects compared two sites during the open caucus session Thursday evening: a 65-acre property near Barker Appliance between Manor and Kittanning Township and another 68-acre parcel of land along Buffington Road in Manor Township.

A third site was originally considered but eliminated since it would have to be purchased. The considered properties would be no cost to the district.

L.R. Kimball K-12 Market Segment Leader John Hummel gave their recommendation.

“This was a preliminary site evaluation as you has asked for, a very cursory analysis of three available sites to see which one is worth the closer look. Of the ones we see, its obvious that Site 1 is identified as clearly far-and-away the one that’s worth that first closer look,” Hummel said.

Architects recommended school directors pursue ‘Site 1’ – the site along Buffington Road off Route 422 – due to its landscape, no zoning requirements and views. The 68 acres would be part of an 168-acreage lot.

However, there were concerns regarding mining and since there is only one access road. Additional studies on the land – including an environmental assessment, topographical surveys and receiving accurate sewage and water availability –  are also requested.

Hummel said not to consider the single access road an obstacle.

“This would certainly-not be the first school campus, nor the last school campus, with one access road. It’s a question of how is that developed,” Hummel said. “There are so many campuses like that now throughout Pennsylvania. It’s nothing to be concerned about.

 “In my experience, it’s not so much whether or not you can develop it: it’s how you develop it,” he added.

Approximately $9.6 million is available for construction soft costs.

Architects also discussed the possible grade 9-12th school with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, who reportedly approved preliminary data to continue with PlanCon A: Description and Justification and B: schematic site and floor plans.

“He is satisfied that it is in full-compliance with all the requirements the Department expects of the study,” Hummel reported.

New Region III Board Member Linda Walker recommended ‘Site 1’ be further considered as recommended.

Project Manager Brian Hayes also gave school board directors an updated District-wide facility study.

“From the time that we started on this new path, we have been documenting the process and the study has basically been a ‘working’ document until now. Now, it is compiled in a final document that outlines everything we have been talking about and meets the requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s study requirements for the purpose of getting reimbursement on a subsequent project,” Hayes said.

A copy is to be available to the public at the District Administration Building in Manor Township once accepted.

The meeting tonight begins at 7:30PM. School board directors will also consider a request to organize a girls’ soccer cooperative.

More than 30 students at Kittanning, Ford City and West Shamokin were reportedly interested in the sport, of which would be played at the field near Lenape Technical School.

  • By pacountrygirl, April 16, 2012 @ 11:55 AM

    The fact that these directors are looking at these 2 pieces of property because they are FREE is a huge joke. The 68 acres, site 1, are part of a larger tract of 168 acres. If I owned that property and I could get the taxpayers to build most of the infrastructure to it making my remaining property more feasible to develop, guess it would be to my advantage to give away 68 acres and have the school district develop it for me. Then I could have a housing development right next to our brand new high school, with much less expense to myself. There are 3 houses on that road. The road is a hard top, if my memory serves me correctly, to the third house. Then it becomes little more than a cow path. And why would anyone talk about the VIEW? Beautiful though it may be, what does that have to do with the education of our children. Unless we are going to teach them hang gliding it has no importance as far as building a school there. Folks, we are being snowed, or so they think, it is going to cost millions in extra revenue to develop either of these sites. Oh, and please don’t forget Ms. Lhote’s swimming pool. Either we stand up to this ridiculous board or get out your swimming suits and bend over because we will be taking more than a swim.

  • By billbell, April 16, 2012 @ 7:49 PM

    I’m guessing pacountygirl is the kind of person who would complain about winning millions in the lottery because she’d have to pay taxes on it.

    Ever been in Butler Intermediate School? It’s overlooking Butler and is beautiful. It would do the architects and board well to visit it.

    Alas, beauty is in the eye of the beholder: some people would rather have their school in a bowery in the middle of town or a village instead of on a shining hill.

  • By Lisa, April 16, 2012 @ 11:36 PM

    Is this new school really being built for the appearance? I would hope that to most people what the child receives from inside the walls would be more important then how it looks on the outside. I would also hope that just because there is a school sitting on top of a shining hill that people realize when they come down off the hill the lights go out, because there are no jobs around this area and nothing coming soon to make people want to move here.

  • By mcfee, April 16, 2012 @ 11:56 PM

    Actually I have been in Butler Int. and High Schools several times at both during the day and after dark and I can honestly say the only thing I remember about the area, is that I had to pass several retail stores and fast food restaurants to get to them. I guess beauty IS in the eye of the beholder!

  • By JornJensen, April 17, 2012 @ 7:34 AM

    Lisa – Great post! You get it – you understand.

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