PLAINS TWP. — The Wilkes-Barre Area School District continues to be plagued by problems with a widely-used roofing material. Decades ago, the material was considered state of the art, but has proven untrustworthy in colder climates because chemicals leach out in the summer sun, making the roof brittle and prone to crack or even shatter in winter.
Several school roofs have required repair or replacement, and a large part of the roof of the former Wilkes-Barre Township High School, long used for storage, shattered one winter. At Tuesday’s school board Meeting, Michael Kryzwicki from Apollo Group Inc., the firm contracted as the district’s project manager, said a section of the administration building roof was damaged this winter and that it’s the same problem: the material.
The problem was discovered during an inspection of all district roofs ordered by the board, and Krzywicki said Apollo is looking into options for partial roof replacement.
The board also got some good news when Solicitor Ray Wendolowski said the district successfully got a substantial increase in assessed value for two Rite Aid stores in Wilkes-Barre. The Rite Aid on South River Street was increased from slightly less than $1.5 million to $4.1 million, and the Rite Aid on Northampton Street was increased from $957,400 to $2.5 million.
Wendolowski said the back taxes will total about $280,000.
Superintendent Brian Costello, meanwhile, noted the plan to consolidate all sports-related activities among the three high schools — action being taken separate from the school consolidation — is on track to be completed for the 2019-20 season. That means this will be the last year all three schools will field separate teams. In light of that, he is looking into restoring the old tradition of a Thanksgiving Day football game this fall “one last time to honor the rivalries between our schools.”
Costello said the idea is still in the early stages and there are two big hurdles: the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association limits the number of football games a team can play in a season, and if any of the high schools go far in the playoffs, they could bump into that limit. Also, training starts for winter sports before Thanksgiving.
Turkey Day games were once popular in the area, often pitting local rivals against each other. They faded from Luzerne County in the late 1970s
Meetings, change orders
Costello also announced plans to resume a practice he began last fall: holding “town hall meetings” in various district schools. He previously held meetings at each of the three high schools and the renovated former Mackin Elementary building, now housing two grades from Coughlin High.
He said he will hold a meeting Sept. 4 at Solomon/Plains Education Complex and Sept. 5 at GAR Memorial High School. Both will start at 6:30. He promised to run the meetings the same way he did in the past, accepting all comers and answering all questions. He also expects to schedule meetings at several other schools.
The board also approved two change orders to a contract with Dunmore Roofing and Supply Inc. regarding work at Kistler Elementary: $900 to insulate 36 feet of pipe, and installing a custom built aluminum roof hatch at a cost not to exceed $3,950. The hatch will let workers inspect part of the roof that had fallen into disrepair.
Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish