by Jonathan Weaver
Armstrong School District could be in line for two consecutive summers of renovation projects.
Elected board directors could decide at their first meeting of 2017 whether Shannock Valley Elementary, in Rural Valley, will be undergoing renovations this coming summer.
After approving a performance-grade audit the past few months, school board directors might take another step toward renovations at the 53-year-old school after hearing from Reynolds Building Solutions Program Development Director Mike Conchilla during their open caucus session.
In August, school directors received a 21-page report of possible energy solutions to Shannock Valley and Eldertion Elementary schools, and Conchilla recapped the recommended mechanical, electrical, plumbing and architectural upgrades.
“This building was really built in two pieces, and operates as two separate buildings right now,” Conchilla said.
In June, Conchilla noticed two separate boilers, 40-year-old heating classroom units and also original flush toilets and worn classroom sinks.
The most-visible renovation would include new front, single-pane windows as well a security vestibule at the front of the building and measures to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act– such as installing an elevator.
“All corridors would receive new ceilings and lights for a fresher look,” Conchilla said. “A lot of our plumbing and duct work have to go through there anyway.”
Mechanical upgrades could include demolishing current, 40-year-old HVAC equipment and extend air conditioning to the entire building.
Electrical upgrades – which also serve as safety upgrades – would include a new emergency generator, fire alarm system and LED technology.
Plumbing upgrades would include new bathroom fixtures, drinking fountains and water piping where needed after inspection.
All told, Conchilla estimated all renovations could cost about $10.5 million – with more than a third of the cost attributed toward architectural renovations.
If able, Conchilla hopes to return at the January open caucus session and release bidding documents the second week of 2017.
“Time is of the essence when trying to get stuff done in the summertime,” Conchilla said. “The biggest thing for us is trying to get equipment in time. If we wait past March, we run the risk of not getting things in time to get it done in the summer.
“We’re pressing on all cylinders right now.”
Limited construction could begin in April, with full construction beginning days following the end of the school year.
School officials have discussed postponing Elderton Elementary renovations instead of coordinating both projects in 2017, School Superintendent Chris DeVivo and Finance and Operations Director Sam Kirk said.