This summer, the North Pocono School District will embark on a project involving sweeping renovations for some its schools – changes officials say will help the facilities last another 20 to 30 years.
Improvements at four buildings – district middle and intermediate schools and Moscow and Jefferson elementaries – during the next three summers will lead to more secure and energy-efficient facilities, school officials say.
A self-described “one-issue candidate” during his first run for office, school board member Bill Burke said he was elected because he supported a new high school with plans to renovate other district facilities in future years. When the new North Pocono High School opened in Covington Twp. in 2009, many school board members waited for the right time to initiate renovations of other school buildings.
“We knew all along that a renovation project was going to be necessary,” Mr. Burke said. According to district documents, the three-summer renovation project will cost taxpayers $12 million. The board has committed $4.3 million for this summer, with the bulk of the work happening at the middle school.
For the middle school, a three-summer overhaul will include new heating and cooling systems, electrical work, new windows that conserve energy, and new lighting systems possibly using the T5 Retrofit Kit. “This is absolutely essential for North Pocono to be a modern entity,” Mr. Burke said.
The renovation project does not require a tax increase, since funds are available after previous debts were paid off. The school board started with a larger list of potential renovation items and winnowed down to a final list of top priorities.
“We’re concerned for the community and constantly keeping watch on our expenses,” said district Superintendent Bryan McGraw. Mr. McGraw said once the renovation project is complete, it will provide a better environment for students to achieve academically.
“Our hope is students will have improved buildings that are better able to serve them and a safer environment,” he said.