Board wants details on move

If the Warren County School District board of directors gets its way, clarity on the move of central office and the process of renovating Warren Area High School will be forthcoming.

“My directive back to my committee (Physical Plant and Facilities),” said board vice president Donna Zariczny, is for “administration to come back with more of a thousand foot level of analysis of space usage and planning.”

With the potential move of the Learning Enrichment Center also floating on the horizon, “I think until we look at what we are utilizing now to make those programs function effectively, (with the) space allocation we have in Russell, we won’t know what do with Russell until we understand it,” she said.

Zariczny then expressed the view that there might be “monetary implications” to have the LEC and the administration in the same building. She outlined potential HVAC and lighting changes that could push such an arrangement “to the point where we may need to revisit from a monetary standpoint if that is what we are going to do. We need to look at the big picture in Russell before we vote.”

She also said the district might need to pursue a change of occupancy should the school switch from being a school to an office.

Parts of the process will require board action fairly soon.

“Norbert (Kennerknecht, director of buildings and grounds) will look for us to approve an architect,” she said. “So far we haven’t assigned him money to work with an architect.”

She also asked administration to clarify what decisions it will need the board to make and when.

Switching to WAHS, Zariczny said that once the project moves to the architectural stage the district will be “moving to the point where we need to think about phasing… where students are going in the building” to accommodate the renovation.

She called for a space analysis at the site and outlined one possibility as the purchase of portable trailers that would allow students to remain on campus, as opposed to being bused to a different facility.

Kennerknecht said that the educational specifications writer will include a logistical study that “gives recommendations on how to move students. (We) will be looking at several different options.”

“If we truly can’t make that work, what are our options?” she asked, arguing that such analysis be completed before a final decision is made on the disposition of Allegheny Valley Elementary School in Clarendon.

“With all the current construction within the district, do we have an established debt ceiling?” board member Paul Mangione asked. “At some point aren’t we going to get out of whack a little bit?”

“There is a debt ceiling under code. We don’t begin to approach it,” said board President Arthur Stewart.

Solicitor Christopher Byham said the limit is set by the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

Stewart said the limit can be considered in the range of three times the district’s annual budget.

“Without PlanCon (state reimbursement for school construction projects) or anything like that, renovations at Warren Area High School will be more costly,” said Mangione.

For discussion on the use of Russell Elementary, Stewart proposed moving that committee meeting to Russell.