The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 8, 2013

Richland board OKs 2 studies of old school

David Hurst
dhurst@tribdem.com

— Richland School District isn’t waiting for the results of an asbestos study as it continues pushing plans to examine the condition of the old Rachel Hill school.

The board voted Monday to allow Windber-based Jeffrey Haman Architects to conduct a structural analysis of the former elementary building while a Johnstown lab will test for lead paint.

Haman, one of two companies that sent proposals, submitted a low offer of $5,500 for the building study.

Board member Harry Graham said the board has received cursory reviews of the building in the past but “this one will be a full analysis of the structural integrity of the school.”

“It’s the natural next step,” Graham said, noting Haman will provide cost estimates for repairing the 50-year-old school.

NORAC Laboratory will conduct the paint inspection for $975, Superintendent Thomas Fleming said.

Both studies and the asbestos review now underway are necessary for the district to determine what to do with the former school, board members have said. It’s been used primarily for storage in recent years.

The district has only speculated on potential future uses. But assuming the building won’t require too much of an investment to renovate, it could be leased as office space or brought back in line as a district-owned tutoring hub or early childhood education center, Fleming suggested last month.