Meadville Tribune

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January 22, 2008

School board members want renovations done right

By Mary Spicer


It doesn’t matter whether you call it a gymateria or a cafenasium. Crawford Central School Board member Jan VanTuil doesn’t want students in a renovated Second District Elementary School using the same room as both a cafeteria and a gymnasium.

Plans for updating the 1920s-era structure this summer came to a screeching halt recently when four other board members agreed a reassessment was in order. The only question remaining to be settled is exactly what they want to change.

President Ross Prather, Vice President Asuman Baskan and member David Miller voted to proceed with the project as planned, while Carol Jones, Christine Lazusky, Stuart Rothman and Frank Schreck sided with VanTuil, putting the project on temporary hold.

“This building needs flexibility — it deserves what all the other buildings do or will have,” VanTuil said. “I would rather see it delayed than do it wrong.”

The discussion that took place during Monday’s board meeting got its start almost a week earlier, when the district’s architect, Ellis Schmidlapp of Landmarks Design Associates, attended a board work session, distributing drawings of proposed changes at First District and Second District elementary schools together with documents to be submitted to Pennsylvania Department of Education as part of its PlanCon requirements. PlanCon, an acronym for Planning and Construction Workbook, is a set of forms and procedures used by Pennsylvania school districts undertaking major construction projects to apply for reimbursement from the state.

At this stage, the total cost of the First District project is estimated at $7,604,628, while the estimated total cost of the Second District project came in at $7,033,264.

Plans for First District, which includes the addition of a 2,150-square-foot cafeteria at the rear of the building, quickly got the go-ahead from the board.

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