JACKSON TWP — The Seneca Valley School Board approved maximum costs for the construction of the new elementary school at its meeting Sept. 16 in preparation for a public hearing on the new school.
As required by law, the board authorized a maximum building construction cost of more than $60.5 million and a maximum total project cost of approximately $78.7 million.
School districts are required to hold public hearings on new construction during which taxpayers can ask about and comment on the projects.
Business Manager Lynn Burtner said the costs are drawn from architects' estimates. She added the public hearing will likely be in late October or early November, and that the district is required to advertise the date of the hearing at least 20 days beforehand.
The maximum cost is not drawn from bids, as state law forbids the district from contracting any company for construction prior to both the public hearing and approval of costs by the state Department of Education.
Applying for grants
The board also authorized three grant applications for special education, transportation and scientific research purposes.
With the goal of providing for those with disabilities, the board permitted an application for the Competitive Integrated Employment Grant, a $30,000 state grant that helps schools establish or expand community-based paid work experiences for those individuals. The board further allowed an application for a $700 grant to transport second-grade students to a Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra concert at Heinz Hall.
Also, Brian Carson, a chemistry teacher at the intermediate high school, requested the board permit the application of a $1,000 grant to fund the use of DNA to study the hellbender salamander, Pennsylvania's state amphibian sometimes known as an Allegheny alligator. The board approved the request, which would purchase DNA extraction kits and lab furniture.