Facilities Committee: Master Plan for Cheltenham School District
KCBA Architects presented the commissioned master plan for the school
district. The plan mainly concerns the future options for district
buildings that will have to be renovated or replaced. These buildings
- Elkins Park School
- Cheltenham High School
- District Administration Building
The first part of the presentation was of laundry list of the problems
of each building:
- Elkins Park Problems
- Building was constructed in 1954 with a 1991 addition.
- The boiler, electrical system and piping are all at the end of life.
- Masonry is in poor condition with evidence of water infiltration.
- The roofing is substandard with evidence that the latest repair is failing.
- There is no insulation in the crawl space which is open to outside
air. This area has to be heated to keep the pipes from
- Cheltenham High Problems
- CHS was built in 1958 and renovated in 2000.
- CHS is in better condition then Elkins Park.
- There are some problems with masonry.
- Paving is in poor condition.
- The roof needs to be replaced. Water is ponding on the the roof.
- The Gym Floor is from the '50s.
- The pool has many problems: it leaks. Locker rooms are not accessible.
- Administration Building Problems
- The admin building was constructed in 1951.
- All windows are single pane glass.
- There are problems with the masonry/water infiltration.
One of the interesting facts to keep in mind during
discussions of the dire conditions of district property
is the age of the houses where the people who will pay
for the new school buildings live. Quoting from Page 44 of the 2005
Cheltenham Township Plan, "The majority of
housing in Cheltenham, approximately 39 percent, was
built between 1940 and 1959. The second largest
percentage, 31 percent, was built in 1939 or earlier. Of
the current total housing stock, 7 percent has been
built within the last twenty years…."
|Age of Housing for Cheltenham Township Taxpayers
The School District Master Plan laid out the following
options for repair or replacement of the three
- Elkins Park and the District Administration Building
||Renovation of Entire School. Described as "Take what you have. Fix it the best we can."
||Replace EP with a new building. Renovate a portion of the old EP for use a District Offices.
||Build a new EP school on the track area. Build a new administration building as part of the process.
||Same as option C1 without constructing a new admin building.
||Renovate the High School. Includes rebuilding the locker rooms. Relocate a new pool in front. Rebuilt auditorium.
||Renovate the High School but the pool would be moved to the rear and would have a smaller addition.
||Build a new High School
Your podmaster double-checked the figures presented, because it seems
strange that building a new Elkins Park School (option EP-C2) is
$7,465,000 cheaper than renovating the existing one (option EP-A)
while building a new high school (option CHS-C) is $45,824,000 more
expensive than renovating the existing one (option CHS-B).
In addition, it was estimated that $8,658,770 will have to be spent
to renovate the athletic complex. This will include rebuilding the
stadium with a turf field, new tennis courts and baseball fields.
The other part of the study was a workforce analysis of how district
buildings are being maintained. The main finding was that Cheltenham
does not use contracted services for maintenance, while other
districts do. During the discussion it was revealed that there are no
new service contracts for the new hi-tech boilers in the new elementary
schools. Presently, they are being serviced under the manufacturer
warranty. It was stated that current district employees are not
trained to maintain the new boilers.
Finance Committee: Tax Increase Reduced.
The board has decided to transfer $874,473 from the fund balance to
reduce the 2016-17 tax increase to 1.3% (0.5787 mills) from the
original 2.4% Act 1 increase. This transfer from the fund balance is
not expected to impact the district's AA- bond rating.
There was some discussion regarding why a transfer from the fund
balance is warranted at this time. Whether or not those discussion
points are true– or if the decrease is just a one-time election year
gift– if it stops one tax lien it is worth it.
None of the meeting presentations have been posted at press time.