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Minimal Repairs Planned for Middle School

Band-Aid fixes planned as Hatboro-Horsham School District awaits the transfer of Willow Grove air base from the federal government to local ownership.

If Willow Grove air base takes the projected 20 to 30 years to redevelop "that would be a problem" for Hatboro-Horsham School District's future middle school, according to a district official. 

The aging Keith Valley Middle School will remain "functionally sound" with minor improvements and modifications for the next seven to 10 years, according to Bob Reichert, the district's director of business affairs. 

According to a capital projects update presented during Monday night's school board work session, the district recently carried out $117,000 in improvements at Keith Valley, including the $10,000 rebuild of a baseball field and an $80,000 cost to replace carpeting. For 2013-2014, roughly $800,000 in maintenance is planned, including the $257,000 replacement of some windows, the $139,000 expense to rebuild Univents, as well as $77,000 to replace heat exchangers and an estimated $66,000 to replace electrical equipment. 

These costs, Reichert told Patch afterward, are aimed at keeping the existing middle school up and running until the district can acquire the . The low or no-cost land transfer is expected to happen in approximately 2016, officials have said. 

"Obviously that building is old," Reichert said of Keith Valley, which is nearing 50 years of life. Waiting as long as the estimated 20 to 30 years it is expected to take to redevelop the entire site "would be a problem," Reichert said. 

The board took no action during this week's meeting, but Reichert said formal approval of the capital budget project list would be considered during the board's Feb. 19 meeting.

Superintendent Curtis Griffin said the district had previously examined the cost of rebuilding or fixing the school at its current site on Meetinghouse Road in Horsham and determined that it was "cost prohibitive" to do so. 

"It is in dire need of work," Griffin said, adding that the prospect of obtaining free or dramatically reduced land from the federal government made building a new middle school "cost effective."

mary February 06, 2013 at 02:27 PM
What makes Mr Griffin an expert on fixing schools. Didnt an assistant coach sell alcohol to kids under his watch? Kv classrooms have no ac in summer.
dman February 06, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Got to love how a 50 year old building is defined as "old". Maintain the schools properly, and they should last for at least 100 years, if not more (many college campuses in this country have buildings that are over 100 years old). And yeah, the kids will survive a few hot days of the school year without AC.
Leigh February 07, 2013 at 12:55 PM
This is a great school academically. Look at rankings and test scores. The teachers are wonderful. I think it is fiscally sound to fix what needs to be fixed and not go overboard, raising our taxes or taking funds away from other areas in education. No ac for the few really hot days at the end of the school year is not going to kill anyone.
Concerned Citizen February 17, 2013 at 10:29 PM
"These are just sketches," Griffin said. "There is nothing in stone. Nothing is a must." Regardless of which model the district advances, Reichert said following the meeting that the board must be "conscious of the Act 1 index," which, for this budget cycle means a tax increase of 1.7 percent or less. To help cover the expense of building a new school, Reichert said the district has been "planning for several years on a systematic, strategic approach," which involves refinancing bonds, keeping money in reserves and expiring some existing debt service. Griffin echoed similar sentiments during Monday's meeting. Looks like we will be getting a tax increase anyway according to Mr. Griffin.

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