Clearfield- During the Clearfield School Board committee meeting Monday night, the board members discussed possible renovations to the elementary school and also heard from a concerned parent regarding athletic trainers.
Denise Putt spoke to the board regarding the lack of athletic trainers at sporting events. She noted that there have been three varsity football games and no trainer at any of them. She witnessed other students and coaches trying to step in and do the work, adding that her own son had no one to look after his injury recently.
She asked the board to take steps to ensure that someone was on site to fill the need.
Although the board does not always respond to visitor comments immediately, Superintendent Terry Struble replied that the families and other community members needed to understand what was going on.
He said that they haven’t had adequate athletic trainers for any of the fall sports recently. There is someone hired, but they do not have all of their clearances and certifications in place and the district has reached out to Rep. Dallas Kephart’s office to see if some of this could be expedited.
They have also contacted local providers to ask about substitutes.
He added that this is a further symptom of issues schools have been facing in regards to athletics. In addition to struggling to find trainers, they are having problems finding officials for games and it is a statewide issue.
Regarding renovations as the elementary school the board was presented an agreement with HHSDR Inc. to serve as architects for a proposed renovation and addition project.
Struble explained to the board members the reasoning behind the proposed project, as well as timeline and cost.
He said in recent years there has been the realization of a need to add additional space for certain areas of the school, not necessarily because of increased enrollment, but because the ability to separate students and staff for various needs is lacking. For example, separating speech students to make focusing for the students easier, or giving parents a place to review and fill out forms in the guidance office separate from the workspace.
Struble also said there are logistic and safety issues that need to be addressed.
The most simple of these is to keep grades together instead of spread across the school. There is also a need for adult restrooms for visitors, more toilets for staff restrooms and adding space for additional work/break rooms, a need for a second elevator, and a better system for ensuring visitors are not free to roam the school at will.
“This is nowhere near a final design,” Struble stated, adding that the district would be able to put the breaks on the process anywhere up until the time bids are accepted.
A possible timeline would be 10 months to prepare and design and get to bid by approximately May of 2024, then two months for the bidding process and a possible August 2024 start date and 16 months for actual work, depending on supplies and whether the contractor could get adequate workers.
Struble said that many contractors are unable to get people to work beyond 40 hours a week.
The alterations to the building would be about $2.5-3 million, new construction about $11.5-12 million and additional costs about $3.8 million with the total estimated costs at $17-18.8 million.
Board members, however, were not enthusiastic about moving forward.
Gail Ralston stated that this is budgeting expenditures on top of needing to consider future upkeep of the buildings, including the possible need of replacing a roof soon, and the district needs to plan on budgeting for upkeep.
Mary Ann Jackson suggested meeting with the architect and reviewing the plans, with Tim Morgan agreeing with her and adding that the district really needs to have someone who isn’t part of the architectural team to review everything and help the board members navigate the project.
He reminded the board of past projects where they did not have a clerk of works or similar individual, and how the projects ended up being massive problems for the district. “We need to do our due diligence,” he said.
Other board members suggested a walk through of CES so that they can see what is planned.
After this discussion, the board decided to table the matter until some of the concerns are addressed.