Dallas intermediate school plans discussed at hearing

By Eileen Godin - [email protected]
Dallas School Board President Sherri Newell pours over the cost analysis of the proposed new Dallas intermediate school during an Act 34 public hearing at the high school on Monday night. - Bill Tarutis| For Times Leader
Project architect Randy Galiotto, of Alloy5 Architects, gives a description and estimated costs of the proposed new Dallas intermediate school to the Dallas School Board during an Act 34 public hearing at the high school on Monday night. - Bill Tarutis| For Times Leader

DALLAS TWP. — How many times can you ask a school principal to shovel snow off the roof of a school?

Once is too many times, Kelly Flannigan said at a hearing Monday about building a new intermediate school in the Dallas School District.

Flannigan said she has three children at Dallas Elementary School. She credits the faculty and staff for holding together the aging building, noting Principal Thomas Traver was up on the building’s roof shoveling snow after the March 2017 blizzard dropped nearly three feet of snow on the region.

Flannigan’s support for the construction of a new Dallas intermediate school was one of four voices the Dallas School Board heard from during an Act 34 meeting held at the Dallas High School auditorium.

State public school code requires the school district to hold a public hearing to collect input before building a new school. The district wants to replace the 45-year-old Dallas Elementary building.

The school board did not vote on plans for a 62,000-square-foot, two-floor school for third, fourth and fifth grades on Monday.

Under the plan, Wycallis Elementary School will house kindergarten, first and second grades.

The project’s estimated maximum cost, which includes construction expenses, is just under $23.2 million, said Randy Galiotto, the project architect from Alloy 5.

The district is eligible to receive $3 million in state reimbursement funds through the Commonwealth’s Planning and Construction Workbook, which contains procedures districts can use to plan new school construction, he said.

Galiotto said the building’s price tag won’t be fully determined until the school board puts the project out for bid in January 2018.

“The board will vote on the actual project cost in the first quarter of 2018,” Galiotto said to an audience of nearly 20 people.

David Payne, a financial adviser at PNC Bank, said the district could fund the project with a slight increase in property taxes.

Payne said the district could raise the millage rate .28 mills, which is equivalent to an extra $41 to the average property owner, in the 2018-19 school year and an increase of .29 mills in the 2019-20 school year.

A mill is a $1 tax on every $1,000 of assessed property value.

The district would also save on costs associated with maintenance and repair of the Dallas Elementary building, Payne said.

The proposed site is next to Wycallis Elementary School off Conyngham Avenue in Dallas Township. The proposal has a very efficient building design with common areas, such as gym, cafeteria, music, art and library facilities located on the first floor, Galiotto said.

The third-grade hall, which can be gated off from the public areas, is on the first floor, he said. Fourth and fifth grades will be located on the second floor.

Wycallis and the intermediate school will share a bus drop-off pad, Galiotto said.

Teachers and parents who are dropping off students will access the school from the rear.

The two athletic fields currently located at the school’s proposed site will be relocated in the vicinity of the current Dallas Elementary School.

The Dallas Elementary School, located off Hildebrandt Road, was established as a Federal Emergency Management Agency shelter, built for the 1972 flood victims, Superintendent Thomas Duffy said.

“The district has done several enhancements to the prefabricated building that sits on a concrete slab to enable us to utilize the school very successfully for over four decades, and we continue to serve over 600 students daily,” Duffy said. “The building has outlived its useful life.”

Dallas School Board President Sherri Newell pours over the cost analysis of the proposed new Dallas intermediate school during an Act 34 public hearing at the high school on Monday night.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/web1_TTL091917DallasSchool_2-1.jpgDallas School Board President Sherri Newell pours over the cost analysis of the proposed new Dallas intermediate school during an Act 34 public hearing at the high school on Monday night. Bill Tarutis| For Times Leader

Project architect Randy Galiotto, of Alloy5 Architects, gives a description and estimated costs of the proposed new Dallas intermediate school to the Dallas School Board during an Act 34 public hearing at the high school on Monday night.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/web1_TTL091917DallasSchool_1-1.jpgProject architect Randy Galiotto, of Alloy5 Architects, gives a description and estimated costs of the proposed new Dallas intermediate school to the Dallas School Board during an Act 34 public hearing at the high school on Monday night. Bill Tarutis| For Times Leader

By Eileen Godin

[email protected]

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.

Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.