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School Board Votes to Borrow an Additional $9.95 million for Middle School
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Last week, the Upper Perkiomen School Board Directors approved several action items advancing the creation of a new middle school.

            Initially, they ratified a measure to borrow an additional $9.995 million to help fund the construction of a new middle school during an Aug. 10 public meeting. Only Member Raeann Hofkin voted against the motion to create the second of four bonds that would provide funds for the acquisition, design, construction and furnishing of the facility for sixth, seventh and eighth graders on Montgomery Avenue in Upper Hanover.

            Hofkin and Kerry Drake voted against a separate motion to allow Superintendent Alexis McGloin and Solicitor Kenneth Roos to sign multiple documents related to the project. The documents include deeds and dedication for the ultimate right of way of Montgomery Avenue and Walt Road along the property frontage, a public access easement for a walking path along Walt Road, land development and financial security agreements, stormwater best management practices, an operations and maintenance agreement and any other documents required by Upper Hanover Township.

            After the meeting, Roos explained that passage of the motion was necessary to allow him and McGloin to "line up the district's ducks" so that Upper Hanover's board of supervisors can approve the district's land development plan in a timely matter.

            District officials hope to break ground on the school in September, according to McGloin.

            Hofkin and Mike Elliot voted against a motion allowing the superintendent and the solicitor to execute an easement agreement with two Montgomery Avenue residents and Montgomery County.

            An appraiser hired by the school district estimated the value of property sought by the district owned by William Chrisman, in the 800 block of Montgomery Avenue in Upper Hanover, at $1,500.  According to McGloin. She stated that a property owned by Dennis and Shirley Giansante, located in the 1000 block on Montgomery Avenue in Pennsburg, has been estimated at $648.

            Following the meeting, Roos said the measure permits himself and McGloin to negotiate with the property owners. 

            According to McGloin, county officials have agreed to provide a portion of a plot of land they own near the site for $1. She said during the meeting that the county commissioners are expected to vote on the issue at their next meeting.

            At the beginning of the meeting, the superintendent told the audience that she was pleased with the bid amounts recently opened for the project.

            The average of four separate base bids announced August 3 totaled $49.032 million. Districts administrators previously budgeted $58.496 million for the school. However, McGloin said the bids came $4.6 million under the budgeted amount. Soft costs accounted for the difference, according to the superintendent.

            Board members will award the bid to the "lowest responsible bidders" after they figure out which alternates to accept, according to McGloin.

            "These are not hard numbers," she said during the meeting.

            McGloin announced that the district has spent $3.4 million to date on the middle school project.






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