In Avon Grove, bidding process now underway for new high school construction project
By Steven Hoffman
The Avon Grove School Board handled a full agenda at its meeting on Feb. 27, approving the refinancing of bonds, adopting a school calendar for the next three school years, and discussing a variety of items ranging from high school project bids to keeping the staff and students safe amid the possible threat of Coronavirus.
Avon Grove officials will soon have a much better idea of the actual costs for constructing the new high school. The district is now receiving bids for the project. There will be a pre-bid meeting for all contracts at the Fred S. Engle Middle School Library Media Center at 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 12. All the bids must be delivered to the school district by the deadline on Tuesday, April 21. School district officials will then open the bids and start awarding contracts in May.
In his superintendent’s report, Dr. Christopher Marchese commented on the concerns about the possible spread of the Coronavirus. Marchese assured everyone that they are monitoring the activities nationally to make sure that Avon Grove is doing everything possible to keep students and staff safe in schools.
“We are taking this very seriously,” Marchese said, explaining that while no cases have been reported in Pennsylvania, it’s important to stay informed about any developments that may be a cause for concern.
Marchese said that they are making sure that the school buildings are being cleaned well, which is one basic way to prevent the spread of germs.
The school board adopted the school calendars for the years 2020-2021, 2021-2022, and 2022-2023. District officials opted to plan out the next three years because of the facilities projects that will be taking place. The district needs to accommodate the construction work and also maximize the number of instructional days for students before they must take state and national assessments. Planning out the calendars in advance was the best way to accomplish these objectives. The school calendars that were adopted are available on the school district’s website.
The school board approved a bond refinancing resolution that will allow the school district to restructure some of its debt. Favorable interest rates will allow the district to see some savings as a result of the refinancing.
The Avon Grove School Board approved a memorandum of understanding with Richard Mason and Curtis Mason regarding matters involving the new Avon Grove High School project and adjoining properties that are owned by the Masons.
The school board approved a resolution of tribute for Wilbur Steltzer, Jr., who passed away in January. Steltzer was a principal of Fred S. Engle Middle School from 1970 to 1988, and made a significant contribution to the Avon Grove community. Marchese said that he had the opportunity to meet Steltzer shortly after he came to the Avon Grove School District, and they talked about teaching at the middle school level.
“We’re sorry for his family’s loss,” Marchese said.
The school board formally acknowledged—and expressed gratitude—for two recent donations to the school district. An anonymous donor wrote a check for $1,000 to the Avon Grove School District Food Services for payment of student meals. Additionally, there was a donation of 95 Rocketbook Core Notebooks, valued at $2,261 from Rocket Innovations, Inc. to the Avon Grove School District’s Technology Department.
The school board was treated to a performance of several scenes from the Fred S. Engle Middle School play, “Aladdin Jr.” More than three dozen students performed in the play, and nearly an equal number worked on the stage crew.
School board president Bill Wood commented that these student presentations are always his favorite part of a school board meeting.
“I wish I could say the rest of the meeting will be just as exciting,” Wood joked, as the school board transitioned into its committee reports for the month.
A Committee-of-the-Whole meeting regarding the budget for the 2020-2021 school year will take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10. The Avon Grove School Board will hold its next regular meeting at the high school on Thursday, March 26. That meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.