JAMESTOWN, PA. School board approves $7.5M renovation project

Taxes will be raised gradually over a seven-year period to pay for the work.
JAMESTOWN, Pa. -- The Jamestown school board has approved plans to proceed with a $7.5 million renovation-expansion of the district's high school.
The vote was 6-3 Monday to submit the project plans to the state education department for approval.
The project has generated a good deal of debate with opponents gathering the signatures of 1,000 people on petitions opposing the scope of work.
The project includes a new gymnasium, something that opponents had hoped could be dropped to reduce the overall project cost by as much as $2.5 million.
Superintendent David Shaffer said between 40 and 50 people attended Monday's board meeting, some of them opposed to the project plans and others supporting them.
School directors Paul Csonka, Debbie Miller and John Tucker voted against it after trying to amend the motion twice.
They first sought to remove the gymnasium portion of the project and then sought to delay the decision-making process for six months, but both motions failed by the same 6-3 margin.
Voting for the full $7.5 million project were Guy Brooks, Doris Livingston, Chris Kneeland, Kevin Floch, Jay Snyder and Linda McClimans.
Two phases
If the state approves the plans, the project will be done in two phases, Shaffer said.
The first, about $900,000 worth of classroom renovations, new science labs and security improvements, could go to bid in May and work could begin in June.
The second phase, estimated at about $6.5 million, would add a new gym and stage, a large group instruction room, a new cafeteria and kitchen, and would renovate the old cafeteria and kitchen into a library-media center.
Jamestown spans the Mercer-Crawford County border and residents in Mercer County can expect taxes to increase by 1.25 mills per year for six years with a 0.3-mill increase in the seventh year for a total of 7.8 mills to pay for the project. That amounts to about $103 more per year after seven years for the average residential taxpayer.
Residents in Crawford County would face 0.88 mill increases in each of six years for a total of 5.28 mills.

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