Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

$5.5 Million in Capital Projects Planned

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

$5.5 Million in Capital Projects Planned

Article excerpt

Administrators in the North Allegheny School District are proposing $5.5 million in capital improvements in 2015-16.

Administrators also said this year's enrollment dipped slightly.

The annual enrollment and capital funding and technology plans were presented to board members last Wednesday.

"We've got a significant investment in this district related to facilities and vehicles," said Robert Gaertner, director of facilities. "Our buildings are aging well."

The district is proposing leasing or buying six large buses, two small buses and one support vehicle during the next school year. Also proposed are a variety of projects, some relating to security and technology, in all the schools, and other proposed projects at Newman Stadium and the Baierl Center.

Technology improvements include interactive classroom projectors for grades 3, 7 and 8 next year. The projectors are being installed in classrooms for grades 4, 5 and 6 this year.

Also, Bill Phillips, senior manager of information technology, said he is waiting for recommendations from the Tech Advisory Committee on other projects, including additional laptop carts at the high schools, iPad carts at each elementary school and carts with a mix of both for the middle schools.

The Capital Funding Plan is for projects between $25,000 and $250,000. Smaller projects are funded through the annual budget, while larger ones are generally funded through a bond issue.

North Allegheny has three large projects pending at schools that were either built or last renovated more than 20 years ago - $7.2 million for Bradford Woods Elementary, $8.7 million for Marshall Elementary and $13.4 million for Marshall Middle School.

Board member Tara Fisher said she supports projects to repair existing facilities, but is leery of any new construction projects. Among the administration's recommendations are construction of a press box at the high school baseball field for $50,000, a storage facility at the stadium for $30,000, and a new press box at Newman Stadium for $350,000.

"That one gives me heartburn," she said. "I'm very hesitant to support construction. I would rather see money go into digital classrooms and technology initiatives and teachers. …

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