Lehigh Valley

Northampton Area School District Board hears possible additions to middle school project

NORTHAMPTON, Pa. - Northampton Area School District Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik wants the district to add five projects onto the current middle school campus renovation project.

Kovalchik presented the school board with the five potential additions at Monday evening's board meeting.

Jay Clough, project architect with KCBA Architects, Philadelphia, and Chris Haller, engineer with D'Huy Engineering, Bethlehem, further explained the nature of the projects for the board.

Possible additions include replacing the existing lighting at Al Erdosy Stadium, providing field lighting for the new bus loop field, providing a new marquee sign at the high school, constructing a memorial area and creating a donor paver at the stadium entrance.

The total cost of the five projects is $955,000. Kovalchik said the five projects will not add to the overall cost of the project set at $80.7 million.

"We are not adding to that number," he said.

The money will come out of the $4.1 million construction contingency fund.

The fund is intended to be used for unforeseen difficulties that may surface during the construction project.

Haller told board members a majority of the $4.1 million contingency fund remains secure.

"We're very comfortable that most of it will not be needed," he said.

The district, Kovalchik said, is in a better position financially than what he initially expected.

According to Kovalchik, the new marquee sign and donor paver area are possible sources of revenue for the district.

"There's a lot of opportunity for fundraising," Clough said.

Board member Jean Rundle supported the five projects request, saying the district should ensure the middle school project is completed in its entirety.

"Our committee and board has been working diligently on this," she said. "I, for one, do not want to give up any of the five."

Board President David Gogel also spoke in favor of the five projects.

"I think it's something we have to think about," he said. "Let's get it done."

The school board will vote on the five projects at the July 28 meeting.

Haller also told board members the middle school project is progressing well. He said work on the third floor classroom wing, common space areas, field house and pool area have begun.

In addition, the first floor classroom wing and second floor areas are currently being worked on.

The middle school project is on schedule to be completed during the 2015-16 academic year.

The new middle school will span 272,000-square-feet and include three floors.

The construction project began last year and was broken down into two phases.

The Borough of Northampton donated 2.2 acres of land for the project that initially belonged to the Atlas Cement Company.

In other business, Kovalchik informed the board the state budget recently passed and signed into law resulted in the district receiving $254,000 from the state, a figure less than anticipated.

According to Kovalchik, the funds will come from an Accountability Block Grant and a Ready to Learn Grant.

He stressed to the board the money must be used for specific purposes, namely curriculum improvements.

"You see a figure and we can't just do what we want with those particular funds," he said.

Also during the meeting, the board unanimously approved the resignation of Eileen Carbone as the high school girls tennis head coach.

Carbone had served as the girls tennis coach for 40 years as well as taught in the district for over 30 years.

"I felt it was important to recognize her years of service," Kovalchik said of Carbone's tenure. "Just a special thank you to Mrs. Carbone."

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