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Pieces falling into place

Posted on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at 11:45 am

As October rolls in, excitement among Westmoreland County’s School Board has dialed itself all the way up to 11. The reason for this is very simple: the bond sale for the new high school happened, and was in fact cheaper than projected. This was revealed during a facility update during September’s School Board meeting, and the ball was cast immediately into the court of the Board of Supervisors, who held a quick meeting to take care of their end of business.

The bond sale was held on September 11, and the bids came in drastically lower than even the conservative rates that had been used by Davenport. “What this means,” Superintendent  Dr. Michael Perry explained, “is that there is more money to be spent. The only thing left for us now is to get the contract finalized. The pieces are in place, and hopefully the county is satisfied, because if they change something, then we’ll have to look at it all over again.”

As luck would have it, the Board of Supervisors was satisfied, hosting a public hearing about the matter on September 28. The costs of construction for the high school came in at $44.5 million and change, with additional costs taking the total expenditures added to the Capital Projects Fund up to $48.5 million, about $300,000 below Davenport’s estimates. The budget amendment and the following appropriation were approved by all of the board members present, meaning it will have all gone to closing by now.

Chairman Darryl Fisher ended things on a hopeful note, stating, “I believe we’re going to have a good project, when it’s all said and done, and that it will stand for a long, long time. “

He continued, “With all the previous things that the other boards have done and accomplished, I think that history will speak well of us and what we managed to do, not just with the high school, but with several other projects, too. I can’t think of many jurisdictions that can set up a master plan and accomplish nearly all of the goals laid out, but we have, and this is the final piece.”

Dr. Perry expects the groundbreaking to be some time in October, with the building complete around October 2021.