Friday, June 28, 2013

School Work

Photo by Evan Brandt
A worker watches a dumspter of debris being removed from the second floor of Lincoln Elementary School.

You would be hard pressed this summer to argue with the assertion that Pottstown is making an investment in education — certainly educational facilities.

Not only is work progressing on the multi-million-dollar improvement to athletic fields at The Hill School — along with the construction of new faculty housing there — but the final phase of construction is underway at Barth Elementary School.
Photo by Evan Brandt
Work is progressing on The Hill School's Far Fields project.

At the June 24 school board meeting, the board was informed that the $5 million in construction work on Barth, which now include s a new roof as well, is “a little ahead of schedule.”

School Board Vice President Robert Hartman Jr., who is also the chairman of the board’s facilities committee, said the recommendation to replace Barth’s roof came from Vic Lasher, the district’s interim facilities manager and an engineer.

In May, the board was informed of Lasher’s recommendation, along with the $665,662 price tag.

Hartman said the board decided to act on Lasher’s recommendation because of his expertise and the need to undertake the work over the summer while the Barth project is completed in order to ensure the new work was not damaged by leaks in the old roof.

It took more than one moving truck to empty Rupert 
Unlike the current roof, which is routinely overlaid with new layers of foam, the replacement roof will not need constant maintenance and will last for 20 years.

In addition to the work at Barth, this is the summer that expansion/renovation work is to begin at Lincoln, Franklin and Rupert elementary schools in Pottstown.

And, in fact, it has already begun.

No sooner had the students left on their final school day, and the teachers packed up in preparation, then the contractors arrived, bulldozers and dumpsters in tow, and began their work.

Plans call for expansion of several classrooms at all three school buildings, in addition to extensive renovations and the addition of elevators at all three.

Students will return to two of the buildings in September and work will continue while the students are at school at both Lincoln and Franklin schools.

The bulldozers are already on-site at Lincoln.
At Rupert Elementary School, the students and staff will be out of the building for the entire school year because work there is more extensive and will progress faster without having the students and staff there.

Instead, Rupert’s classes will be moved to Edgewood Elementary School which is the building the district has decided to close and potentially sell.

Taken together, the work at the four schools comes out to $24.2 million.

Relevant to the construction projects was the board’s approval Monday of spending up to $48,000 to an engineering firm to examine the roofs and building envelopes of all the district’s building except the middle school.

That report is due back within about one month, Hartman said.

In it, the consultants are likely to recommend not only the replacement of the roofs of all three elementary buildings, but also, potentially brick work at Rupert and perhaps even at the high school.

Outside Franklin Elementary, the construction fence is up and a large mound of earth is ready for use.

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