2010-04-29 / Front Page

Southern Fulton OKs Feasibility Study

Hires architectural firm at tentative cost of $4,500; hires elementary principal
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

The majority of the Southern Fulton School Board was agreeable last week to selecting an architectural firm that will complete a feasibility study outlining current and future building needs, suggestions for alleviating ongoing space constraints and construction costs.

Two motions were made during the board’s April 20 meeting giving authorization to Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates to conduct a feasibility study at a “tentative” cost of $4,500. The initial motion made by Donald Whiteside failed for a lack of a second. Following additional discussion about the study, the original motion was brought back to the board for consideration.

The motion made by Whiteside and seconded by Patrick Bard was accepted on a 6-3 roll-call vote. Board members Danny Crouse, Timothy Mellott and Allen Morton were against the completion of the study.

During March, at the suggestion of district Superintendent Ralph Scott, the board agreed to take the item regarding the selection of a firm off the monthly agenda. In further explaining his request, Scott pointed out the first round of interviews was completed on March 10 and 11. Of the eight firms that were interviewed, four were asked to return for a follow-up interview. As of the March board meeting, the interview schedule had not yet been determined.

At the time, Scott also reiterated prior comments that the board was only committing to have the study completed and not OK’ing a construction project.

A feasibility study typically ranges in price from $3,500 to $35,000, and the district currently has $25,000 set aside in the budget for the study. The cost of the study would in turn be waived by the architect in the event the district moves forward with construction. Economic costs contained in the feasibility study must be recalculated if the district does not move forward with construction within one year of the study’s completion.

In preparing for the completion of the study, the board and administration previously met with financial advisor Gordon Walker, who estimated the district’s current short-term debt service at $5 million. He further explained that borrowing $1 million for a new project would include a “local net effort” of nearly $30,000 through the year 2019. A $2 million scenario would have a local net effort of $60,000 and pay off in 2020, while a $3 million project would accordingly pay off in 2021.

Walker added there would be nothing wrong with the district utilizing $500,000 of its own funding for each year of a four-year time frame. He also proposed the option of using district money in conjunction with assuming debt.

In other matters attended to last Tuesday, the board regretfully accepted letters of resignation from varsity volleyball coach Denise Conley, varsity soccer coach Herb Brambley, junior varsity girls volleyball coach Melissa Mackel and junior high girls basketball coach Joseph Hollenshead.

Retroactive to May of 2009, Betty Feagley was authorized to continue in the capacity of board secretary. Feagley’s newest term of office is slated for four years.

Linda Garber from the Central Fulton School District, along with Donna Isenberg, Huntingdon Area School District, and Lisa Baer of the Southern Huntingdon County School District received approval from the board to serve as representatives on Tuscarora Intermediate Unit #11 Board of Directors for three years.

Pending the completion of necessary paperwork, Betsy Clippinger and Garrett Fix were authorized to serve as substitute teachers during the remainder of the 2009-10 school year.

Craig Elbin received approval to serve as a volunteer coach during the spring sports season.

Aaron Harris will be serving as a long-term substitute for high school life skills teacher Amanda Keiper at a daily rate of $115. Keiper is scheduled to take a leave of absence through the Family Medical Leave Act, which will likely last through the conclusion of the current school year.

In addition, Patricia Scott will be serving as a long-term substitute for elementary librarian Sally Wilson, who will also be taking a leave of absence. Scott’s daily rate has been set at $115.

With elementary Principal and assistant to the superintendent Kendra Trail moving up to assume the role of superintendent upon the retirement of Ralph Scott, the board made the unanimous decision to hire Theresa Corle as the newest elementary principal. Corle will begin her duties at Southern Fulton effective July 1. Her salary was accordingly set at $65,000.

In curriculum-related matters, Trail was asked to present a strategy to the board that will outline how study halls for grades seven through 12 will be reduced.

The board approved the 2010-11 calendar as presented, and pre-kindergarten teacher Amber Goldizen was granted permission to attend the mandated pre-K meeting to be held on May 6 and 7 in State College. Goldizen’s participation in the meeting will be covered through the pre-K grant.

The sixth-grade environmental club will be travelling to Harper’s Ferry on May 10 to visit the Appalachian Trail. Expenses related to the trip will be covered by the participants.

Elementary school students will be participating in the Camp Joy-El Released Time Program during the 2010-11 school year. Furthermore, students enrolled in grades kindergarten through second will be able to join the Child Evangelism Fellowship Bible Release Time Program.

The Fulton County Parks and Recreation Commission was given permission to utilize the elementary gymnasium between April 12 and June 2 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Use of the gym for the basketball league will be coordinated by the district’s athletic director.

The old elementary school parking lot will be used by the Fulton County Conservation District on May 22 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. for en electronic recycling event.

The board wrapped up its meeting with a motion to allow Brush Creek Township to collect school taxes from the Valley-Hi Borough at a rate of $11 per real estate duplicate and $1.50 for each per-capita tax. The motion will be in effect until the position of Valley-Hi Borough tax collector is filled.

A 54-minute executive session was held at the conclusion of the meeting to review personnel and negotiation issues. No action was taken.

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