The Abington School District has been mulling over what to do with the Glenside-Weldon Elementary School building for more than 15 years … now there’s a prospective timeline to its demise.
Should everything be approved, the district is looking at a three-phase project — starting April 23 with preliminary demolition and ending in September 2014 with the construction of a new athletic field and the restoration of the site.
“Because this project involves removal of some environmental hazards, asbestos being the major one, we need to ‘phase’ this project in order to be able to allow enough time for some demolition to take place,” Abington School District Facilities Supervisor Stephen Saile said at Tuesday night’s meeting. “And once the asbestos is removed, we can go back in and perform more demolition until the structure is removed.”
But what’s next? A public hearing.
The Abington School Board early next month will advertise a public hearing to be held Wednesday, Sept. 18 at the school district administration board room at 7:30 p.m. regarding the closure of the school.
Abington Superintendent Amy Sichel said the district will write letters directly to the residents that surround the school, informing them of the hearing.
“That’s what we have done with every project, even though this is a project to demolish a building,” she said. Sichel added that the solicitor will be in attendance as well.
Here are some other notable dates regarding the school's likely demolition, according to Saile:
- Sept. 23 through Oct. 31: The school district will begin the preparation of plans and specs for demolition and site design, and will award contracts for an asbestos consultant and a fuel tank consultant.
- Nov. 4 through Jan. 10: The district will review plans and specifications and will submit plans to the Montgomery County Conservation District; there will also be a preliminary review with the township planning and code enforcement department.
- Jan. 14: The board will consider a motion to close Glenside-Weldon Elementary School
- Jan. 15: Should the board approve the motion, it will notify the Pennsylvania Department of Education of its intent to close the school.
- Jan. 28: The board will likely consider a motion to advertise the Glenside-Weldon demolition project.
- Jan. 30: Should that motion pass, school district officials will submit a demolition permit to the township.
- Feb. 6: The project will be open to bids.
- March 6: The board will receive the bids, and five days later, the board will consider taking action to award the demolition contracts.
- April 11: The board will take action to execute contracts for the demolition project.
- April 23: Construction will commence.
- Sept. 6, 2014 through Oct. 24, 2014: Final completion and project closeout.
According to Saile and Assistant Superintendent Leigh Altadonna, if the district were to renovate and add on to the building instead of razing it, those modifications would cost $29.4 million next year and would cost $44.9 million in 2024; the cost of a new building in 2014 would be an estimated $26.2 million and about $36.6 million 10 years from now.
The cost to knock down the building will be about $2 million.
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