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Harmony addresses school's water issue
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
By Dianne Byers Staff Writer
WESTOVER - In hopes of averting the possibility that students would miss additional days of school due to a lack of water in the school complex created by an aging water system, Harmony Area School Board took action last night to approve an interim water distribution system.
Dr. Jill Dillon, superintendent, told the board the current treatment and distribution system is antiquated and plans to replace it have stalled while the engineer determines what type of system would best suit the building and students' needs. Once that has been finalized, applications for permitting for the project must be sent to the state Department of Environmental Protection. DEP approval would likely take additional time and could push the project start-up to the summer months, she said.
District students have missed school three times this year because there were insufficient amounts of water in the building, once in September and twice in December, and last week they had to be sent home early, she said. Information presented last night is the amount of water used daily is approximately 4,400 gallons.
"We can't have the students sent home and lose educational time," Dillon said, adding "We need to keep the students here and keep their educations going."
The board accepted the recommendation of its renovation project's clerk of the works, Pathline Inc., Altoona, with concurrence by Dillon and approved installation of a temporary poly, 4,500-gallon water tank in the complex's courtyard, at a cost not to exceed $6,000. Members also approved a change order from K&K Plumbing, Johnstown, the project's plumbing contractor, for $393.64 to install a supplemental water tap so that the tank can be connected to the building's water distribution and treatment system when it is needed.
Dillon said last night the cost to fill the tank with water would be $400.
Board members hope to be able to sell the tank once a new water distribution and treatment system has been installed.
In other business, the board:
• held a 22-minute executive session for legal matters.
• hired Melissa Mastrine as assistant girl's softball coach at an annual salary of $2,023.86.
• said the board would not raise residents' taxes an amount that exceeds the 2.6 percent index calculated by the state Department of Education.
• accepted an agreement from Keystone Collections Group to garner delinquent per capita taxes owed to the district.
• approved Plan Con H addressing project financing for the building renovation project be submitted to PDE's Division of School Facilities Bureau of Budget and Fiscal Management and noted PDEDSFBFM approved Plan Con I, interim reporting, submitted last month.
• authorized several additional change orders for the renovation project including $14,400 to replace two blower units located in the elementary and administrative offices. Both units are more than 20-years-old and leak. The additions also include ventures and pipe modifications for the heating system that were missed when the specifications for the project were drafted. The cost for the additions to the heating system is $4,474.60.
• extended a contract for Sean McMullen to continue as an instructor for a homebound student at $20 per hour for a maximum of five hours per week through Feb. 4 and Shannon Watson as a homebound instructor for two middle school students at a rate of $20 per hour for five hours per week.
• extended Sonya Buterbaugh's long-term substitute instructor position through yesterday.
At the beginning of last night's meeting, Mikala Eger, a senior, thanked members for their service to the district on behalf of the student body. She also read a poem in recognition of school director's appreciation month.
Members also received small gifts and were recognized, following the meeting, during half-time at a basketball game held at the school.
The board will meet for a work session Jan. 28 and its next business meeting, Feb.4. Both meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are held at the high school library.
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