Renovations necessary at local schools

By Craig McNair

PLUM, Pa. –  The principal of Pivik said Friday that the need for renovations at four local elementary schools are necessary but not urgent.

The borough of Plum has five elementary schools in the district that teach kindergarten through sixth grade.  Four of the five elementary schools are in need of renovations in order to meet current building safety codes.  The renovations needed for the schools are vast and include anything from needing a new boiler to more accessible entrances for those students who are handicapped.

The renovations will improve the elementary schools but none of the problems being addressed need to be fixed immediately.  The problems found such as making the kindergarten area found at Pivik elementary accessible to handicapped students are minor renovations that will improve the elementary school but are not considered to be urgent.

Many of the proposed renovations are considered to be general maintenance work that needs to be made on the buildings.  The renovations made on the schools would increase the lifetime of the buildings by making them stronger and newer.  The preservation of schools is important and must be recognized in order to keep an ideal learning atmosphere for the students and faculty.

Gail Yamnitzky has been the principal of Pivik elementary for five years and sees first hand the problems found at the elementary school.  When asked about the status of Pivik elementary principal Yamnitzky said, “We don’t have any emergencies.  There’s nothing that has to be done tomorrow.”  The renovations that were suggested in the feasibility study are not critical in that they don’t have to be completed immediately.

The principal of Pivik elementary school said the renovations are mostly just replacing and improving older elements found in the four elementary schools such as heating and accessibility issues.  Yamnitzky said, “There are certain mechanical conditions in this building that have outlived their live expectancy.”  Many of the estimated renovations are not urgent in that they would only be upgrading the current conditions found in the schools.

Yamnitzky said things such as the boiler, the plumbing and the electrical systems are “working but they were never designed to work as long as they have. They need to be upgraded.”  The upgrades will all be contained in the feasibility study taken on the four elementary schools.

The borough of Plum hired the L. Robert Kimball and Associates construction company to conduct the feasibility study.  The feasibility study assessed the condition of each elementary school and prioritized their individual problems in an order that addressed the most important first.  The borough paid $20,000 to have the study taken and when the renovations begin the fee will be reimbursed.  The feasibility study will propose a 5 year plan that outlines the steps that need to be taken by the borough in order to complete the renovations.

According to a Sept. 18 report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, school board President Jeff Matthews said the renovations made to the four elementary schools that include Adlai Stevenson, Holiday Park, Pivik and Regency Park will become a “multimillion-dollar” project.

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