Calling it a “significant event” in the history of the Quakertown Community School District, the board of directors voted unanimously to approve significant renovations to the high school that will take four years to complete and cost more than $71 million during Thursday night’s meeting.
“This has to be done,” said President Robert Smith of the renovations. “…This is not an ideal situation.”
The less than stellar conditions were indicative of the fact bids for the project vastly exceeded expectations, to the tune of about $11 million, he added.
“Much more than we anticipated,” he noted at one point.
Nevertheless like a person stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place, the board voted to bite the bullet and proceed with the renovations. The project will be a combination of repairs, renovations and minor additions, according to QSCD. The renovations would not only make the building ADA-compliant and more secure, but they are also well past due.
In a few words, there are several problems with existing structure.
“The current facility is significantly behind the times,” Smith said.
Behind the times and saddled with many problems, according to a year-long, in-depth facility study conducted by The Architectural Studio. Those issues include settlement problems in several classrooms and corridors in the 1965 addition and the gym, along with drainage concerns where there are areas of deterioration, standing water and basement infiltration.
There are also architectural issues, such as asbestos, deteriorated envelope and some roof and interior conditions as well.
“We spent a lot of time reviewing this,” said Board Member Paul Stepanoff in the immediate aftermath of the vote. “It was a most difficult vote we had to ponder and take.”
Even thought it will prove to be an expensive proposition for the district and taxpayers, Smith added it is a good long-term investment.