District considers Boyertown High School renovation options

The Boyertown Area School District administrators are trying to determine what to do with the two oldest sections of the high school as the plans to renovate and expand the building unfold.

The 1938 addition and the original building, which dates back to 1920, are currently being evaluated for safety and usage.

While no final decisions were made at the Jan. 29 Facilities Committee meeting, the future of the building is under great consideration.

The district is looking at what the costs would be to bring those sections up to standard as well as what other purposes that the building or the space could serve. If demolition would occur, the space could potentially serve as parking spaces.

Many options are being considered right now according to Facilities committee Chairman John R. Crossley. “We don’t want to rush through this; these are not easy decisions to make,” he said.

Business Administrator for the school district David Szablowski stated at the Jan. 8 board meeting that the project would be affordable to the district without a significant tax increase based on a wraparound plan.

According to Szablowski, demolishing the building for parking would cost the district about $542,000, which includes the cost of paving and landscaping.

To keep the building functioning would cost the district nearly double, with an annual maintenance cost estimated around $200,000.

EI Associates have previously stated that the cost to build new construction versus renovate the old building would be about the same, while the new construction would allow for the firm to better achieve the districts goal of an academy approach in its plan.

Some administrators are curious as to whether other groups in the area would be interested in purchasing the real estate such as the Boyertown Area Historical Society. Szablowski does not foresee an interest due to maintenance costs.

The next Facilities Committee meeting will be held on Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Education Center.

The tentative timeline is to have the high school project available for bid by contractors at the end of the summer. Construction would begin in October 2013 with a scheduled completion by August 2015.