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Westmoreland high school notebook: Penn-Trafford’s Allen gets another scholarship offer

in School News/Sports

Source: Trib Live

Penn-Trafford senior football player Noah Allen is drawing Division I attention as national signing day (Feb. 5) approaches.

Allen received his second Division I FCS scholarship offer, from Butler. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Allen also has an offer from Valparaiso.

He had 15 receptions for 228 yards and two touchdowns this past season and added 20 tackles and three interceptions.

Johnson nears 1,000

Mt. Pleasant basketball standout Jake “J.J.” Johnson needs 22 points to reach 1,000 for his career. The Vikings (9-6, 3-2) host No. 1-ranked Knoch (12-1, 5-0) on Tuesday night in a Section 1-4A game.

Johnson would become the seventh boys player to reach the scoring milestone at Mt. Pleasant, joining John Rogers (1,265), Kevin Kozak (1,196), Chris Hobson (1,167), John Picarsic (1,221), Rob Patula (1,101) and Ryan Gumbita (1,038).

PIHL coaches

Coaches were selected for the PIHL All-Star Games to be played Jan. 26 at Robert Morris Island Sports Center.

Westmoreland County names picked for the games include Corey Mentch of Greensburg Salem (Class A assistant), Josh Werner of Latrobe (Class AA head coach), John Winebrenner of Franklin Regional (Class AA assistant) and Eric Grant of Hempfield (Class AA assistant).

The all-star schedule starts with the Class B game at noon, followed by Class A at 2 p.m., Class AA at 4 and Class AAA at 6.

Hetrick wins award

Kerry Hetrick, athletic director at Penn-Trafford, received the Pennsylvania State Athletic Directors Association Distinguished Coaching Educator (DICE) Award.

The award goes to an AD with the greatest efforts, dedication, leadership and achievements in athletic administration.

The head of Warriors athletics since 2010, Hetrick was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame East Boros Chapter in 2014 and was named the Eastern Association of Interscholastic Football Officials High School Administrator of the Year in 2018.


Franklin Regional senior bowler Alex Smith signed a letter of intent to continue his career at Robert Morris.

Smith is best known for bowling two 300 games on the same day, in the same series (879) in his youth league a year ago.

It is a Pittsburgh region juniors record. Smith received two rings from the United States Bowling Congress, one for a 300 game and the other for rolling an over-800 series, which included 11 consecutive strikes.

• Norwin senior baseball player Aidan Shephard gave a verbal commitment to Mercyhurst. The Lakers are a Division II program. Shephard (6-4, 190) is an outfielder and also pitches for the Knights.

• Hempfield soccer player Zach Vanek, a senior midfielder, committed to play at Cal (Pa.).

• Norwin senior Logan Huss, a sprinter and standout relay runner for the Knights track and field team, announced he committed to Pitt-Johnstown. Huss is the cousin of Derry football standout Justin Huss.

• Division II Lake Erie offered Greensburg Central Catholic senior football player Luke Mazowiecki. A wide receiver and defensive back, Mazowiecki caught 31 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns this season. He had 65 tackles, five for loss, and six interceptions.

• Mercyhurst offered Derry senior lineman Max Malis. The 6-3, 270-pound Malis played on the offensive and defensive lines for the Trojans and also saw time at H-back.

• Yough senior tight end and defensive end Russell Pytlak (6-3, 235) also grabbed an offer from Mercyhurst.

• Lake Erie also extended an offer to Hempfield senior Paul Newill, a 6-foot-3, 275-pound offensive guard and nose guard.

• Penn-Trafford senior tight end and linebacker Cole DeFillippo (6-1, 200) received an offer from Division II Millersville.


Westmoreland campus clippings: Norwin grad Cole hits milestone, again

in School News/Sports

Source: Trib Live

Jenna Cole is one of those rare cases: a basketball player who gets to celebrate the 1,000-point mark twice in her college career.

Cole, a Norwin graduate and a senior forward at La Roche, accomplished the feat over the weekend as she scored her 1,000th point as a player at La Roche.

She started her career at Pitt-Greensburg and scored 397 points there. She tallied more than 600 in her first two seasons at La Roche to top 1,000 points last January.

But when she tallied a team-best 18 points in a 78-69 win over Penn State Behrend, she eclipsed 1,000 points at La Roche, raising her career total to 1,403.

The returning Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Player of the Year, Cole is the 14th player in La Roche program history to reach the milestone.

The Redhawks (8-4) are 8-0 in the AMCC, and Cole is contributing 12.4 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 46% from the field.

Women’s basketball

Pitt-Greensburg: Junior Nadege Durand registered her seventh double-double of the season with 23 points and 12 rebounds, sophomore Maddie Sitler had 12 points and junior Shaquoia McCray grabbed 11 rebounds for UPG in a 62-55 victory over Medaille.

Junior Maddy Coddington (Greensburg Central Catholic) had six assists for the Bobcats, who assisted on 13 of their 20 field goals.

UPG will host Mt. Aloysius Wednesday for its first weekday game in a month.

Saint Vincent: Junior forward Madison Kollar (Latrobe) scored 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and junior guard Carlee Kilgus added 15 points as the Bearcats (9-5, 5-0 PAC) defeated Bethany, 79-58, for their third straight win.

Men’s basketball

Pitt-Greensburg: UPG (11-2, 7-1) ran its winning streak to four with an 89-70 victory over Medaille as junior Matt Johnson scored 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting, and junior Cam Seigfreid (Penn-Trafford) added 19 points, including three 3-pointers.

Sophomore Jojo France scored 13 points, sophomore Torian Jenkins came off the bench to net 12 and senior Brady Kingston had 10 and five assists.

UPG made 36 of 65 shots (55.4%).

Saint Vincent: The Bearcats (9-5, 4-1 PAC) went back-and-forth with Bethany to earn their sixth straight win, 67-66. Junior Cletus Helton made a late floater in the lane, and Bethany missed a couple of chances to go ahead in the closing seconds. Junior Shemar Bennett led SVC with 22 points and 19 rebounds, Helton added 18 points and David Stephen chipped in 14.

Bennett was named the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Player of the Week.

Women’s indoor track & field

Penn State: Senior Maddie Holmberg (Hempfield) won the season-opening long jump title at the Nittany Lion Challenge with a mark of 6.12 meters.

Seton Hill: Four Griffins placed first at the Marietta Open. Sophomore TerryLee Talasky won the 300-meter dash (43.18 seconds), senior Skye Christian won the mile (5:13.63), junior Julia Lersch won the 3,000 (11:29.42) and redshirt sophomore Morgan Vincent was victorious in the pole vault (3.45 meters).

Christian was named the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Women’s Track Athlete of the Week.

Men’s indoor track & field

Chatham: Sophomore Brett Seich (Belle Vernon) was named the PAC Athlete of the Week. He won the mile at the Oberlin Dan Kinsey Invitational. He also anchored the 1,600-meter relay (3:47.05).

St. Francis (Pa.): Freshman Nick Hyde was named the Northeast Conference Men’s Rookie of the Week after winning the shot put at the Great Dane Classic in Staten Island, N.Y. His winning throw was 56 feet, 4.75 inches. Hyde attended Southmoreland before finishing his prep career at Somerset.

Seton Hill: Winners for the Griffins at the Marietta Open were freshman Joseph Piper (Latrobe) in the 55-meter dash (6.54 seconds), freshman Zakharee Williams (Latrobe) in the 400 (53.56), sophomore Samuel Hartman (7.67) in the 55-meter hurdles and freshman Hunter Martin in the long jump (6.43 meters) and triple jump (13.15 meters).

Westminster: Freshman Ryan Beard (Franklin Regional) was named the PAC Field Athlete of the Week after a strong showing at the Dan Kinsey Invitational. He was fifth in the 60-meter dash (7.37 seconds) and the 200 (23.66).


Norwin adds 5 college courses for students

in Norwin News/School News

Source: Trib Live

Norwin High School students will be able to choose from five new courses next school year, allowing them to earn college credits from two universities and Westmoreland County Community College, as well as save money in the future.

The school board Monday approved the new College in High School courses in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh, Robert Morris University and the community college in Youngwood. The courses — business calculus, introduction to engineering, computer-aided design, child development/early childhood Ed Lab, and anatomy — carry a minimal tuition fee payable to the university, the district said.

Students remain at Norwin and take the classes that meet the college requirements, Natalie McCracken, assistant superintendent, told the school board.

The school district already offers nine courses in which high school students can earn college credits. The district also has 17 Advanced Placement courses that can help students earn college credit.

With the number of advanced placement courses and College in High School courses, students could earn enough college credits to finish college one or two semesters early, Norwin Superintendent Jeff Taylor said.

The school district wants to ensure that students, not only the highest-achieving ones, get the chance to earn college credits in high school, McCracken said.

Students already can earn college credit from Rochester Institute of Technology in engineering introduction and design and computer-integrated manufacturing. Seton Hill University offers Norwin students credits in college writing, Spanish and accounting. Students can earn credits from Pitt in German, information sciences and cybersecurity, and cyber security and the law. Community college already offers credits in French.


Norwin to cap tax hike at 3.4%

in Norwin News/School News

Source: Trib Live

Property owners in the Norwin School District will not see their school taxes increase more than 3.4% — the maximum allowed without state or voter approval.

The Norwin School Board unanimously voted at its meeting this week to limit any tax hike to the state maximum, which is about 2.8 mills in the Westmoreland County communities it serves. The school board does not have to approve a budget for next fiscal year until June 30.

“Everybody’s goal here is to keep it (tax hike) as low as possible,” while maintaining a safe environment and quality education, said board President Brian Carlton.

Ryan Kirsch, business affairs director, said he expects to present a review of the 2020-21 budget at the board meeting in April.

Norwin has raised real estate taxes to the state-permitted limit each of the last four years.

The state’s school districts have until Jan. 9 to either adopt a resolution certifying the the school board will not adopt a budget that exceeds the Act I index, or they must present a proposed preliminary budget.

Norwin last raised real estate taxes by 2.4 mills, or 3%, to 82.4 mills, to fund its current budget of $73.6 million. That tax hike was the maximum permitted under state Act 1, without seeking approval from the state education department or a referendum approved by the voters. One mill of property tax generates about $400,000 for the school district.

The annual millage levy includes 1.2 mills that the school district collects for the Norwin Public Library. The referendum approving the tax allocation was approved by school district voters in 2000.

Eighteen property owners in White Oak and South Versailles who live within the Norwin school boundaries saw their school taxes rise by 0.36 mills. The tax levy differs because of variations in assessment rates between Westmoreland and Allegheny counties.

Norwin raised taxes in the 2018-19 school year by 2.4 mills to 80 mills for its Westmoreland residents. Homeowners with property assessed at the median value of $22,010 paid an additional $53 a year.

In the 2017-18 school year, the district raised taxes 3.3%, also 2.4 mills.


Norwin’s sensory hallways give students calming effect

in Local News/Norwin News/School News

Source: Trib Live

Kolton Kamauf walked through a hallway at Norwin’s Hahntown Elementary School in North Huntingdon, where paintings and vinyl stickers on the floor and the wall prompt him and the other students to touch them, crab walk, bear walk and do wall push-ups.

”I like it because it gives my brain a break and it relaxes me,” said the 9-year-old Kamauf, a fourth grader from Irwin.

The sensory hallways — one on the first floor and the other on the second floor — were created over the summer by Katelyn Gigliotti, a kindergarten-to-fourth grade learning support teacher, and Alyssa Rittenhouse, an occupational therapist assigned to the Hahntown, Sunset Valley, and Stewartsville elementary schools, as well as Hillcrest Intermediate School.

They received permission and support from Lisa Willig, the Hahntown Elementary principal, who assisted with the project, Gigliotti said.

Gigliotti said they wanted an activity in which all students could participate, not just ones with athletic ability. Also, it had to be appropriate for the learning support students, but not just for the youngsters receiving learning support, Gigliotti said. The students can use it during recess or while just walking along the hallways, and do it in 30 seconds, Gigliotti said.

“It gives them a quick mental break through the day,” Gigliotti said.

It is an option for teachers when their students have a “movement break,” Willig said.

The activities along the sensory hallway are at different heights and require students to alter the pressure they place on the wall with their hands, Gigliotti said.

The sensory hallway on the first floor, where the younger students have their homerooms, has crab stickers on the floor to encourage crab walks and pawprints to encourage bear walks, hopscotch with numbers to jump on, a set of letters to jump through, balance beams made of tape and a visual maze on the wall, Rittenhouse said. The second floor, where students in grades two, three, and four have their classrooms, has hockey stick stickers to balance on and footballs to hop through. Both floors have a wall push-up station.

Students using the sensory hallways can do activities involving ‘heavy work’ like the crab walks, bear walks, jumping and wall push-ups that provide deep pressure to joint muscles, which helps regulate a child’s sense of body awareness, Rittenhouse said.

“This sense can regulate emotional and behavioral responses, arousal level and attention to task, which is great for learning, playing and socializing and all the other ‘occupations’ of childhood,” Rittenhouse said.

“The sensory hallways incorporate activities often used by occupational therapists that can help students organize all of the sensory input they receive throughout out the day and channel it in a functional way for learning.”

Research has shown that students who are more active “have better focus, faster cognitive processing and more successful memory retention than students who spend the day sitting still,” Gigliotti said.

Noting that the elementary students “really have that need to move,” Rittenhouse said that “hopefully, this helps them sit when they need to sit.”

As a special education teacher, Gigliotti said she often works with Rittenhouse, an occupational therapist, to help students who have a ‘need to move’ and learn better when they have plenty of opportunities for movement.

“The kids make it work for them,” Willig said.

Sensory hallways, referred to as “sensory paths” close to the stairwells, also were created over the past summer throughout Stewartsville Elementary School, said April Preisach, Stewartsville’s principal.

Each sensory path has a theme with suggested activities, Preisach said.

“The butterfly-themed sensory path encourages students to practice letters and numbers while taking a break,” Preisach said.

Students practice following directions while at the hopscotch and ladder sensory path and directional maze.

Students can be found using them at various times throughout the day. Some will verbally request to use them while others have it built into their schedule.

“All sensory paths encourage movement and give students the opportunity to regroup,” Preisach said.


Norwin OKs pool renovation project

in Norwin News/School News

Source: Trib Live

Norwin students could be swimming in an updated pool next fall.

As expected, the Norwin School Board this week selected the least expensive proposal for updating the pool, estimated at about $1.2 million by Wallover Architects of Lancaster. A contractor has not been selected.

Among the work being considered is an improved filter system, a stainless steel gutter, a ceramic mosaic tile deck, leak repairs, improved lighting and removing the existing ceiling finish, which has failed in some places.

A committee of school board members, administrators and professional staff recommended the upgrades. The option selected provides a balance between what is educationally sound and what is fiscally responsible, said Barb Viola, Norwin school board president.

The board may hire a construction manager in December or January. The construction manager would determine the schedule for advertising for bids and then award a contract, likely in the spring, said Jonathan Szish, district spokesman.

The architects estimate it will take about six months to complete the renovation. By starting in May, it could be completed by October, in time for the swim team season. Norwin Superintendent Jeff Taylor said students scheduled for swimming classes in the first semester would have those postponed until the second semester.

To pay for this and other capital improvement projects, the board plans to borrow $9.95 million.


Penn-Trafford tops in Westmoreland County on state assessment tests

in School News

Source: TribLive

Penn-Trafford was ranked in the top 2% of the state’s 605 schools districts, based on the results of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment and the Keystone Exams, the school district said.

The Westmoreland County school district ranked 11th out of 605 statewide, according to scores released in October and posted by, an independent website that uses state Department of Education scores to rank districts.

Penn-Trafford had the highest ranking among the county’s 17 school districts. Norwin was second-highest at 34; followed by Franklin Regional ( 38); Greater Latrobe ( 60); and Hempfield Area (107).

Of Penn-Trafford’s elementary schools, two ranked in the top 1% of the state; two more were in the top 5% and the remaining one is in the top 12%. Both of Penn-Trafford’s middle schools reached the top 7% of the state.

Penn-Trafford High School, which ranked 13th in the state, is in the top 2% of the 688 high schools in the state.

The Penn Middle School ranked 49th out of 864 middle schools; and Trafford Middle School ranked 56th.

Of the district’s five elementary schools, McCullough ranked 3rd in the state, placing it in the top o.2% of elementary schools.


Lady Lakers fall to Wolfpack, dominate Bobcats

in School News

Source: The Garrett County Republican

MCHENRY — The Garrett Lady Lakers’ basketball team fell on the road to the Westmoreland County Community College Wolfpack this past Friday before bouncing back to dominate Bryant & Stratton (Ohio) a day later in the CARC at Garrett College.

The weekend’s results push the Garrett women to 2-1 so far in the early season.

Garrett at Westmoreland County CC

The Wolfpack outscored the Lakers 17-10 in the fourth quarter to edge the visitors 59-56 in last Friday’s matchup at Westmoreland County CC.

Though it was a close game throughout, Garrett held leads at the end of the first three quarters by scores of 22-20 after one, 33-32 at half, and 46-42 after three.

Westmoreland was led by Dymond Crawford who scored a game-high 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds to go with three assists. Teammate Mackenzie Markle nearly earned a double-double with 14 points and nine boards, and Hannah Hempfield stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, seven rebounds, five steals, and three assists.

Two Lakers recorded double-digit scoring outings in the loss with Sharatia Jefferson leading the way with 16 points to go with her nine rebounds and a team-high three steals. Kayla Harris followed with 14 points and four rebounds. The difference in the game came in the turnover column as the Lakers turned it over 24 times compared to Westmoreland’s 16.

Kiara Cole scored just two points but logged eight rebounds, Arionna Liberati came off the bench to score eight points and record four boards, and Terynn Williams accumulated six points and seven rebounds.

It was not a banner day for either team shooting the ball, particularly from behind the arc, as the Wolfpack were just 4 for 21 (19%) while the Lakers were 4 for 27 (14.8%). Overall, the victors shot just 29% from the field (20 for 69) while the Lakers were just over 31% (21 for 67).

Bryant & Stratton (Ohio) at Garrett

The shooting woes went away the following day as the Lady Lakers shot a much-improved 43% from the field (32 of 74) and featured five double-digit scorers en route to an 83-57 blowout over the visiting Bobcats.

The Lakers took control early with a consistent offense and a suffocating defense as they held the visitors to just six points in each of the first two quarters to lead 31-12 at the half. Garrett would make it 55-37 after three before bringing the score to its final in the fourth.

Tiera Johnson finished with a game-high 22 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and dished out five assists for the Lakers. Williams corralled 14 boards and scored 12 points for a double-double, Maya Harvey also had 12 points, Harris logged 10 points and five rebounds, and Liberati came off the bench and came up with 14 points, five boards, and four assists.

Garrett also managed to get it done from beyond the arc in this game as it made 10 of 24 (41.7%).

No stats were available for Bryant & Stratton (Ohio).

Up Next

Garrett hosted Butler County Community College (Pa.) yesterday evening. Results from that game will be featured in next week’s edition.

The Lady Lakers will return to the court on Dec. 4 when they host Pennsylvania Highlands Community College.


Westmoreland campus clippings: Saint Vincent freshman double dips

in Local News/School News

Source Tribliv

Some athletes play two sports in separate seasons. Saint Vincent freshman Sara Basala not only plays two sports in the same season, but she also found time to play two in one day.

At the conclusion of the Bearcats’ final women’s soccer game of the season Nov. 1, she went straight to the pool and competed in a meet.

Two events in one day, only hours apart.

Basala saw time as a backup in the soccer team’s 3-1 win over Thiel, then swam the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes in a home meet against Allegheny.

“I only felt a little rushed getting from the field to the pool because my game ended at 2:45 and we had to be at the pool at 3:30,” Basala said in a school release. “I ran back to my dorm room, picked up my swim stuff and went to the meet. After that, the meet went smoothly.”



James Madison: A local coach is a conference champion. Mike Shanahan (Norwin), a former Pitt tight end, is a receivers coach and recruiting coordinator for JMU, which rolled over Richmond, 48-6, to clinch the outright title in the Colonial Athletic Association.

The No. 2-ranked Dukes are 10-1 and 7-0 in the CAA.

Shanahan, an all-state player at Norwin, had short NFL stints with the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before coaching at Elon for two years.

Mercyhurst: Freshman running back Dustin Shoaf (Yough) scored his first college touchdown on a 10-yard scoring throw from Doug Altavilla as the Lakers downed Millersville, 17-7.

Shoaf has 23 catches for 251 yards.


Men’s basketball

La Salle: Freshman forward Brandon Stone (Southmoreland/The Christ School) had 12 points, six rebounds and two blocks in his second college game, a 70-64 win against Iona. Stone has one start and is averaging 15.3 minutes for the Explorers (1-2).

Pitt-Greensburg: Junior guard Cam Seigfreid (Penn-Trafford) scored 21 points and Cody Spaid had 17 to lead the Bobcats (1-1) to an 87-69 victory over Saint Vincent (3-2).

Seigfreid shot 9 of 11 and Spaid, 8 of 10, from the field. Spaid grabbed nine rebounds and sophomore JoJo France (12 points) and senior Brady Kingston (11) also scored in double figures with Kingston dishing out seven assists.

Junior forward Drew Normandin led the Bearcats with 19 points.

Saint Vincent: Junior guard David Stephen poured in a career-high 28 points in an 82-70 victory against Chatham.


Women’s basketball

Cal (Pa.): Senior transfer Monica Burns (Hempfield) scored 14 of her team-high 21 points as the Vulcans upset No. 5 Virginia Union, 82-80. She added five assists.

She added a season-high 28 points in a 91-77 win over Fairmont State. Burns made 7 of 19 shots and had seven rebounds for the Vulcans (4-0).

Burns is scoring 22.3 points per game.

Westmoreland County Community College: Women’s basketball had to cancel its season last year because of low roster numbers, but second-year coach Jame Brymn has enough to fill out a lineup this season — and two reserves.

The Wolfpack moved to 1-3 with a 59-56 win over Garrett College as freshman guard Dymond Crawford (Jeannette) scored a game-high 17 points, including the go-ahead basket with 1:04 to play. Freshman forward Mackenzie Markle (Latrobe) added 14 points and nine rebounds, and sophomore guard Hannah Hempfield (Mt. Pleasant) had 13 points and five steals. Crawford grabbed seven rebounds.

West Virginia Wesleyan: Junior guard Brittany Stawovy (Greensburg Central Catholic) is averaging a team-best 14.3 points through three games. She scored 20 in the season opener against Mansfield and had 19 against Shippensburg. Stawovy is 12 of 22 from the 3-point arc.

Junior Abu Gabauer (Norwin) scored 11 in the Mansfield game and is averaging eight points.



Bucknell: Senior 197-pounder Drew Phipps (Norwin) and sophomore 165-pounder Zach Hartman (Belle Vernon) picked up wins, but the Bison fell to No. 12 Iowa State, 24-15.

Phipps has 14 dual-match victories in a row.

Iowa: Redshirt senior Michael Kemerer (Franklin Regional) is back in the lineup after missing most of last season because of knee surgery. Kemerer (174 pounds) returned with a dominating 20-0 victory against Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Junior 125-pounder Spencer Lee (Franklin Regional), who is ranked No. 1 at 125 pounds, also cruised in his season opener, 16-5.

Iowa won 39-0.

Ohio State: Top-ranked 141-pound senior Luke Pletcher (Latrobe) scored a major decision in the No. 3 Buckeyes’ 23-12 victory over No. 15 Pitt to move to 6-0 for the season.

Pitt: Redshirt sophomore Micky Phillippi (Derry) picked up a 4-2 decision in a 23-12 loss to No. 3 Ohio State. Phillippi is ranked fourth in the country at 133 pounds.


Norwin board expected to OK $1 million in pool repairs

in Norwin News/School News
Image by Joe Napsha


Faced with the need to update the 50-year-old Norwin High School swimming pool to bring it up to standards, the Norwin School Board is poised to authorize spending between $1 million and $1.2 million on the project.

The school board on Monday revealed during its workshop meeting that a committee of board members recommended upgrading the pool over the much more expensive options of replacing the pool at its current location or constructing another building to house a pool.

The board is expected to authorize the pool renovations proposed by Wallover Architects of Lancaster, an expert in swimming pool construction, when the board meets at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 for its regular meeting.

By authorizing the project in November, the process can begin for seeking bids for the work. The school board in the spring discussed the need for the swimming pool renovations, but the district replaced the artificial turf at Knights Stadium instead.

Wallover Architects last month presented the school board with a report detailing the inadequacies of the pool area. Among the problems are leaks in the roof, a ceiling that is failing in certain areas, an undersized filtration system, an inefficient heating system, an inadequate level of lighting and dressing and restroom facilities that do not meet standards for the Americans with Disabilities Act.

To make the pool meet standards, Wallover recommended new deck equipment be installed, the heating and ventilation system be upgraded, the existing deck be replaced and the pool tile be repaired and completely regrouted. The company also recommended the bleachers be upgraded and the concrete gutters replaced with stainless steel.

The project would cost $1 million but would increase to $1.1 million to $1.19 million if a new filter and recirculation system are included, according to Wallover.

Superintendent Jeff Taylor said the district would have the option of choosing the parts of the basic upgrades it wants to include in the project.

Director William Essay said he liked the third option — constructing a new building on the high school-junior high school campus, but that cost could range from $5 million to $8 million, according to Wallover.

Director Tracey Czajkowski said she would have preferred replacing the pool at the existing site at the high school and reorienting it so it would meet all safety standards for high school swimming and diving competition. That option, however, would cost about $5.6 million.

While more expensive options might be preferred by some, “our bank accounts couldn’t take it,” board member Donald Rhodes said.

The pool renovations would be paid for by a $9.95 million bond issue the board authorized last month for the pool and other unspecified capital improvements. The money would become available when the bonds are sold in January.

Taylor said he would like to see the project begin in May and have it completed in October, in time for the swimming team’s season.

Students who normally would take swimming classes in the first semester of the 2020-21 school year would take swimming classes in the second semester, Taylor said.

The school board did interview two firms under consideration for a study of the school district’s facilities: McKissick Associates Architects of Harrisburg and VEBHArchitects of Mt. Lebanon. The interviews were conducted in an executive session.

The school board is considering what capital improvements may be needed in the school district.


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