SCHOOLS Board looks at funding repairs

Old boilers, old windows and leaky roofs are part of the problem.
FARRELL, Pa. -- The Farrell Area School Board is considering borrowing up to $25 million to improve its elementary and junior-senior high schools.
The board has scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday to further discuss the matter. The money would be borrowed through a bond issue.
Superintendent Richard Rubano said the discussion doesn't commit the board to anything. The board's action would only be an authorization to look at financing improvements, he said.
Estimated cost
The district had the Sharon architectural firm of HHSDR do a facilities study on its buildings, and the estimated cost of a wide range of needed repairs and improvements is $25 million, Rubano said.
The elementary school boilers need to be replaced, and windows in both buildings are energy-inefficient and should be replaced, he added. The roofs at both buildings are in poor condition, and the district has been patching them for years to halt leaks, he said.
"There are a hundred things [on the list]," Rubano said, adding that lighting needs to be upgraded, handicap-accessibility issues need to be addressed at McCluskey Gym, and there is no storage space in either building.
The board has been aware of these concerns for the past four or five years, and conditions are at the point where some decisions have to be made, Rubano said.
Michael Stabile, district business manager, said the district's bond debt is down to about $12.1 million.
Farrell is paying $400,000 a year to pay off that bond and is getting more than half of that payment back in a state building subsidy, he said.

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