On Jan. 11, Hamburg Area school directors gave the green light for work to be done at the middle school which would include improving security at the building’s main entrance and also replacing the gym floor.

The project includes creating a secure entrance which would require a card to access the area. A similar project was completed at the high school in the fall.

Work is scheduled to start in mid-June and be completed before school starts.

The cost of the project is estimated at $670,000, according to Philip Leinbach, president of AEM Architects, Inc.

Plans for the gym include installing a wood floor to replace the current synthetic-coated floor and installing energy-efficient lighting.

Leinbach also spoke to school directors about work that he recommended to be done in the next five years.

The biggest items included replacing the roof and providing air conditioning throughout the entire building.

Leinbach noted that the building is 20 years old and that the Department of Education looks at buildings in a 20-year time frame.

“We assessed what needs to be done to get another 20 years of life out of the building,” Leinbach said. “It’s in pretty good shape for a 20-year old building.”

Leinbach estimated the cost of the recommendations at $7.5 to $8.3 million and that the district could be reimbursed up to about $2 million by the Department of Education.

In order to receive money from the state a feasibility study would need to be completed, Leinbach said.

Superintendent Dr. Richard Mextorf told school directors that school districts can get into trouble by waiting until a building is 30 to 35 years old before making repairs and the problems become bigger.

In other news, school directors hired Charles Kutz, Pottsville, as a middle school guidance counselor at a salary of $85,500, effective upon his release from the Blue Mountain School District.

“He is a very qualified teacher and quality person, who has been in the classroom, which is not a given,” Mextorf said.

School directors also hired Mary-Elizabeth Eshbach, Shillington, as a high school English teacher at a salary of $76,500 effective upon release from the Reading School District.

Besides teaching English, Eshbach will also provide multi-media instruction and work with students in the TV studio.

“She has experience on the national stage and will use her skill set to help develop students in multi-media,” Mextorf said. “She will give kids the tools they need to be successful. I’m excited about growing the program.”

The next meeting of school directors is Monday, Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the James A. Gilmartin Community Room.

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