Admin. makes case for AVES

While the discussion won’t be relevant for several months, as the Sheffield elementary addition completion date was pushed back a semester as a result of the harsh weather, the Physical Plant and Facilities Committee of the Warren County School District board of directors discussed the final disposition of Allegheny Valley Elementary School on Monday.

While the district’s master facilities plan calls for the facility in Clarendon to be closed once the Sheffield K-12 project is completed, WCSD Director of Buildings and Grounds Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht said there are “three factors that are also relevant” that could lead the district to a different conclusion.

Those three are 3.5 years of remaining bond payments at the school, the location of the district’s server farm and the need to maintain heat and electric to the building even if unoccupied.

Kennerknecht said the bond payment, which would result in approximately $75,000 in state reimbursement over the next three years, “plays into it somewhat because we are still occupying it.”

He also explained that as Warren Area High School undergoes an upcoming renovation, to be able to provide 50 percent of the building for contractors to work on at a time “AVES would be an option that we could move some programs (that) wouldn’t necessarily interfere with the education plan for Warren Area High School students.”

Superintendent Dr. William Clark said on Wednesday that it’s still too early to know for sure what additional space will be needed to accommodate the renovation.

“That’s why we still think AVES is a possibility,” he said, explaining that one example could move vocational programs from the Warren County Career Center to AVES during the renovation, with ninth grade at WAHS moved to the WCCC. “We’re already transporting those kids,” said Clark of students at the WCCC.

With the delay at Sheffield, the possibility of the Learning Enrichment Center moving from the Warren State Hospital grounds to AVES next year is likely dead.

“The rent we pay for that property is negligible” to transportation of LEC students to AVES, said Clark. He suggested that an LEC move will be put off until the 2015-2016 school year.

Regarding the server farm issue, board member Tom Knapp asked what would be involved in moving it.

Brian Collopy, coordinator of technology/information management, said the current servers are in their fifth operating year. “The warranties are starting to expire,” he said, explaining that the district is working on renewing those warranties.

He also said that the district is working on a technology plan and argued that it would make more sense to install a new server farm at a different location within the confines of that plan. Collopy noted they are looking at the cost of servers now.

Kennerknecht said moving the servers would also require moving the air conditioning unit that keeps the servers cool as well as a generator installed to ensure the servers run even if there is a power outage at AVES. “All that stuff would have to move as well,” he said.

“So right now Allegheny Valley is still going to be in play for next year (and the) plan (is) on keeping it open into perpetuity after that and moving the LEC,” said board member Paul Mangione. “When we get into these plans, the people that were on the board, you voted to close those schools. Part of the reason why we are where we are, we get down a path and we go down another path. We’re getting into years two, three and four (of the master facilities plan) and not closing buildings. At the end of the day, how much are we really saving?

“Let’s get a plan and stick with it,” he added, noting that he is not comfortable with the savings presented at the 2012 closure hearing for AVES and other elementary schools throughout the county.