B-A School Board will consider options for auditorium project

The Bellwood-Antis School Board held a work session this past Tuesday November 5 to prepare for their November 12 school board meeting. On the board’s agenda is the consideration to approve L.R. Kimball & Associates as architects for the middle/high school auditorium project at a fee of eight percent.
Estimated construction costs are $554,242.50 based on the feasibility study. At last months board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Rodney Kuhns asked the board to have the contract completed by November’s meeting with L.R. Kimball & Associates. Board committee members visited auditoriums around the Commonwealth that the architects have renovated and looked at the features that were added, so that the board had visual comparisons of the work done.
The B-A School Board spent considerable time discussing the scope of the renovation project, and they’re considering entering into a contract with Kimball, but after visiting auditoriums with Dick Bower, B-A choral director, some board members are considering new versus renovating the old auditorium.
At next Tuesday’s board meeting, architect Rick Witt of L.R. Kimball & Associates will be in attendance to discuss the contract with the board and to discuss the possibility of another feasibility study to determine whether or not they could build a new auditorium on the site.
Kuhns stated, “That was a surprising development because we hadn’t even considered that until board members went to the other auditoriums.”
The cost of the project and renovating an old auditorium also added to the interest of the board looking into building a new auditorium on site. The board feels that they could perhaps spend their money more wisely by building new.
In addition, Bower presented an equipment listing for new equipment that adds another $102,000 to the size of the project. The new equipment will require some rewiring of the auditorium, which wasn’t in the original feasibility study.
Kuhns stated, “There are some facts that were presented at the discussion meeting that will increase the cost of the renovation. The equipment listing, the upgrade to the electrical system in order to accommodate the new equipment and concern for the structural safety of the lights hanging on the stage are thought to have to be gutted on top, so that will add to the cost of the renovation as well.”
There are a number of factors that were discussed by the board that will add to the cost of the auditorium renovation, and the board had a lengthy discussion concerning the issue and will be talking to Witt, the architect, at next Tuesday’s board meeting.
The B-A school board will also move to request the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to conduct a hazardous route study north of Route 865 in order to determine if any changes are necessary as a result of the recently completed bridge project.
Concerned resident, Diane Vallade, wrote the school board about the concerns for the safety of children on East 5th Street as result of the bridge project. The board discussed that problem and added the motion to the agenda for action next Tuesday night. A reported increase in the volume of traffic in the discussed area Vallade’s letter led to the board to look into the matter more closely.
The board is going to request that PENNDOT conducts a hazardous route study north of Route 865 to determine whether changes need to be made. The Bellwood Police have already been monitoring the discussed intersection, and according to their statistics, there aren’t that many students that are crossing in that area.
But, according to some of the information presented by board members, speed of the traffic has increased along with the volume of traffic has increased. With those two factors, the board is now thinking that the volume of traffic and speed there is considerably different, that maybe the board should have PENNDOT take a look at the area again.
The issue is being addressed to be positive that the safety of the Bellwood-Antis school children is first and foremost.
The Daily Herald will be at the November 12 B-A School Board meeting to report on the decisions made on the above issues and other issues discussed by the board.