Northampton Press

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Act 34 hearing set for Oct. 8

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in School

A detailed preview of the $35.7 million Lehigh Elementary School project will be presented at an Act 34 public hearing 5:30 p.m. Oct. 8 in the cafeteria of Northampton Area High School, 1619 Laubach Ave., Northampton.

Copies of the Act 34 booklet are available for review on the school district website, nasdschools.org (click on the second Spotlight story); the administration building, 2014 Laubach Ave.; and Northampton Area Public Library, 1615 Laubach Ave.

NASD Superintendent of Schools Joseph S. Kovalchik, in his introductory remarks in the booklet, states, “The Northampton Area School District is planning and designing a new Lehigh Elementary School to replace the existing school, both of which are and will be located in Lehigh Township on Blue Mountain Drive.”

The new Lehigh Elementary School is designed for an enrollment of 700 students, kindergarten through fifth grade.

Kovalchik states the NASD administration, NASD solicitor and professionals retained by the district for the project, including KCBA Architects, construction management company D’Huy Engineering and financial adviser PFM Financial Advisors LLC, will describe and discuss the proposed project at the Act 34 hearing.

Lehigh Elementary School, built in 1956 at 800 Blue Mountain Drive, Walnutport, Lehigh Township, has had additions in 1963, 1987 and 2000. According to the Act 34 booklet, “The building envelope and infrastructure (especially that which is located in crawl spaces below the ground floor level) is failing. A capital improvement plan has identified approximately $15.5 million in needed capital upgrades.

Reasons stated for building a new Lehigh Elementary School include, according to the Act 24 booklet:

Floor plan not conducive to 21st-century teaching;

Address student and traffic safety with improved site design and layout;

Provide efficient HVAC systems with ducted ventilation and central heating and cooling plants;

Improve acoustics for interior spaces, especially classrooms;

School lacking full ADA compliance; and

Create a more secure entry.

Those attending the hearing may participate during the comment portion, with a time limit of three minutes per person.

Written statements may be mailed or delivered before the hearing by Oct. 5 to NASD Board of Education Secretary Terry Leh at the administration building. Written statements must be received after the hearing by 2 p.m. Nov. 7.