Lehigh Valley

Northampton Borough Council receives middle school update

NORTHAMPTON, Pa. - Northampton Area School District Superintendent, Joseph Kovalchik, took a road trip Thursday night to explain the district's progress on the construction of the new middle school.

He didn't have far to travel. Kovalchik's audience were Northampton Borough Council members who received a 25-minute presentation on the massive building during their public meeting.

The school is still scheduled to open in time for the 2015-2016 school year, the superintendent told councilmen.

Construction on the building began last year.

Kovalchik used a slide presentation that chronicled construction work on the site that when completed will feature a middle school that spans 272,000 square feet and rises three stories above ground.

The Borough of Northampton has a stake in the project that transcends the importance of education, as it donated the 2.2 acres of land for the project, which initially was owned by the Atlas Portland Cement Company.

"They are building on a site that produced cement," said Councilman Edward Pany.

Besides pictures and videos, Kovalchik also presented a healthy share of statistics, noting that a typical classroom in the middle school would be about 850 square feet.

The superintendent added that the media center, which he noted  in the past went under the name "library," will "be awesome" when completed.

"What I saw there was impressive," Pany said of a recent tour of the construction site.
Meanwhile in the immediate future, the first day of the 2014-2015 school year is Monday and at least one councilman had a request for drivers traveling throughout the borough.

"The kids are back at school," said Councilman Anthony Lopsonzski Sr. "Slow down....Safety please."

In other business, council acknowledged outgoing Public Works Supervisor Steve Gerny, who is retiring after a 44-year career with the borough.

Many council members took turns praising the 1965 Northampton Area School District graduate - who also served three years in the United States Army from 1966 through 1969 - for his service to the borough.

Pennsylvania Rep. Julie Harhart (R-183rd) presented Gerny with a proclamation during the meeting.

Later council promoted Gregory Morey to Gerny's post, effective September 2nd. He will receive an annual salary of $66,067.

Vice President Robert McHale and Councilman Tony Pristash were absent from Thursday night's meeting.

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