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Sidewalk Completion Required for Middle School Occupancy Permit
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            The completion of off-site sidewalk work on Montgomery Avenue must be completed before Upper Hanover officials will issue a certificate of occupancy for the Upper Perkiomen School District's new middle school. Douglas Kenwood, the district's director of facilities and operations, conferred that reality during last week's Facilities Committee meeting.

            In response to a question from board President Kerry Drake, an ex-officio member of the committee, Kenwood described the sidewalks as a critical component of the entire project during the Aug. 15 meeting.

            All the contractors are sensitive to the district's deadlines, according to Melanie Cunningham, a school board member who chairs the committee. She said they are working weekends and nights to complete the project. The project remains on track to open for the first day of school, which is scheduled for Sept. 3, according to Kenwood.

            "The contractor is feeling comfortable that it can finish on time," he said during the meeting.

            Workers have been forced to relocate some wetlands on the school side of the Montgomery Avenue near Eighth Street by installing a basin, according to Cunningham. She said the project has also slowed by some water main issues, adding that the sidewalk work on the Pennsburg side "is pretty much done."

            "The crews are working really hard," Cunningham said. "They are working as late as possible."

            According to Kenwood, district officials expect to begin moving supplies into the new school, as well as the renovated Upper Perkiomen 4th & 5th Grade Center in East Greenville, simultaneously on Aug. 22 and Aug. 23.

            Jim Fry, the borough's manager and code enforcement officer, was scheduled to tour the facility at 510 Jefferson Street yesterday, according to Kenwood. He said that a temporary occupancy permit would likely be issued if the inspection determines that the hallway and classrooms are safe.

            Crews discovered asbestos at the former middle school during the renovation. The "non-friable" materials –"which means that it cannot be crumbled or pulverized and released into the air… was found in adhesives under the flooring in the auditorium, adhesives behind the wall paneling in the administration/main office area and in some floor tiles that were exposed during wall demolition," according to Nikki Gum, a communication specialist for the district.

            Out of an abundance of caution, demolition was stopped in the areas of concern, and environmental consultant 1Source Safety & Health, Inc. was brought in to do material sampling, according to an email message from Gum.

            As a result of the identified asbestos, licensed contractors followed their protocols to address the building materials in question and certify all areas safe for occupancy. "In the case of the auditorium floor, the materials have been encapsulated and marked according to best practices," Gum reported.

            Crews contained the main office area and properly removed the materials. "Follow-up air quality tests were conducted in the main office area by 1Source, and all areas that were identified to contain asbestos are safe for occupancy," wrote Gum.

            The members also discussed new signage at the 4th and 5th grade center. Kenwood displayed a proposed placard in blue and yellow on the building above the main entrance. The members also discussed replacing the stand alone sign, which currently says Upper Perkiomen Middle School. The facilities director said he would get an estimate from Reed Signs to complete the work, which could include the word change and other maintenance.

            Kenwood asked if the committee wanted to illuminate the sign. Vice President Mike Elliot wondered if the light could be connected to a timer. Member Raeann Hofkin, participating by phone, asked if an electronic sign would be preferable. Cunningham deferred those issues to the full school board.

            In other news, the committee unanimously approved a motion to rename the high school football stadium after former Coach Bill Keeny.

            "Let's bump it up the food chain," Elliot said.

            Between 1960 and 1980, Keeny accumulated a record of 104-101-7 and captured two Bux-Mont League titles, including an outright crown in 1966. Relying on ingenuity and discipline, Keeny converted the Indians from a league doormat into a perennial contender.

            Keeny also worked as a teacher and administrator. His impact far exceeded the football field, according to Peg Pennepacker, a 1976 Upper Perkiomen graduate and a November school board candidate who attended the meeting.





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