The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 25, 2012

School upgrade in works

David Hurst

— The fate, and price tag, for planned Blacklick Valley junior-senior high renovations will be known next month, school officials said Wednesday.

The district is accepting bids until Dec. 13 on the estimated $6.7 million project – the first major renovations to the school since 1990, Superintendent John Mastillo said.

If all goes well, work could begin in May to upgrade Blacklick Valley’s junior-senior high school. But board members need a favorable offer before the district will decide on how to pay for it, he added.

“At this point, the district is only working with estimations and approximations,” Mastillo said, while noting upgrades are needed.

The Birch Street school was built in 1969 – and hasn’t seen significant renovations in nearly 20 years, district officials said.

Much of the work planned will overhaul the school’s infrastructure.

Heating, plumbing and electric work are planned, Mastillo said.   

Such upgrades will be cost-savers on the district’s monthly bills over time, he added.

Exterior work includes replacing an aged roof and windows, and overhauling the main entrance, one of a few cosmetic improvements to the school.

“The district does not want ‘extravagant’ – it is the desire to create an environment which students can learn, be productive and enjoy attending,” he added.

Brick repointing and repair to the building’s facade also are planned.

If bids are in line with estimates, work would start at the end of the 2013 school year in areas that wouldn’t interfere with school day routines, Mastillo said.

After the school year ends, work would shift to the interior so that those upgrades would be finished when students return in late August, he added.

The project is tentatively set for completion in  December 2013.