- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—The Burrell School Board has agreed to consider renovating the former high school weight room, but some members are balking at the potential price.

Superintendent Shannon Wagner said the room hasn’t been used for anything but storage since the weight equipment was moved out about a year ago. Located near the pool and above the gymnasium, moist air was corroding the equipment.

Wagner suggested the room be converted into another locker room, which could help alleviate overcrowding in the current locker rooms during athletic events.

Since the district only has one locker room for each gender, teams can end up using the opposite gender’s locker room, sharing a room with another team or changing in a temporary room or hallway.

As designed by Andreas Dometakis with HHSDR Architects/Engineers, the room would be converted into a largely open changing room with 30 lockers, a small restroom with two toilets and three private showers, and two storage rooms.

Dometakis estimated the renovation could cost $330,000 — a figure that concerned several board members.

Director Deb Kinosz questioned why the electrical work, estimated at $60,000, would cost so much for an existing room.

Bruce Coleman, who oversees the district’s facilities, said the two-story room will need a false ceiling and new lights wired into it. Dometakis said a projector, outlets and the ventilation system will need to be wired.

Board member Jim Kunkle said it was “hard to wrap your head around” spending as much money on one room as it could cost to build a house.

“I know the price point is challenging,” Wagner said.

But she said it was impractical to have unused space: “I think it will be used and used a lot.”

She said the room could be used by gym classes when it’s not in use as a locker room.

Wagner said about $300,000 remaining in the capital projects fund from the 2005 Huston Middle School renovation bond would be used, and any additional funds needed would be pulled from a capital reserve fund that contains an estimated $900,000.

The board agreed to seek bids from contractors with the understanding they don’t have to pursue the project if the costs come in too high.

Dometakis estimated construction would take about three months.

Board member Genia Koziarski questioned whether the work would disrupt any athletic or educational programs since it would occur during the fall.

Wagner said there are no classes in the area and since the room is not in use now, it won’t disrupt any sports or gym classes.

She said noise would be the biggest concern, and Dometakis said the bid specifications would require contractors to work in the evenings.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or [email protected]

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