The Southern Chester County Weeklies (http://www.southernchestercountyweeklies.com)

U-CF board looking to adopt 10-year plan for building repairs


By Candice Monhollan, Kennett Paper

Friday, March 21, 2014

Just like living creatures, buildings can age over time and to help combat the wear and tear, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District is looking to devise a 10-year plan.

The plan, which was originally presented to the school board in November, was discussed recently at the March work session meeting, this time focusing on the financial aspects.

As it stands, it looks like the ideas presented to repair and update the district schools over the 10 years will cost roughly $22 million.

“[It’s] to keep all six of our buildings in good, working order and good condition,” said Superintendent John Sanville. “The lion’s share of that plan focuses on the middle school and Hillendale.”

Those two buildings will be the focal point because they have gone the longest without any type of renovation.

“For instance, at the middle school, the auditorium needs to be renovated, we need a redesign of the front entrance, including the counseling suite and the main office,” Sanville said. “As we move forward, we’re going to engage our community, particularly parents, as to what those things will look like and what we’ll want to do and don’t want to do.”

The 10-year plan is broken down into three phases.

“A lot of that is based upon spreading the cost out and also the things that need to be done the most,” Sanville said.

Phase 1 will run from years one through three, while Phase 2 will be years four through seven and the final one in the remaining two years.

“We’re looking at different financing options,” Sanville said. “The board discussed and will continue to talk. We looked for financing for the first phase and then three years out, we find financing for the second phase and then the third.”

The pay-as-you-go idea for financing the plan shouldn’t spend more than $3 million in a year, the most coming during the summer of 2016, according to a chart presented at the work session.

“We do have some funding that we put aside in our reserve fund and there’s also funding from the high school project being under-budget,” Sanville said. “$1.5 million from the high school project being under-budget can be used to fund other building projects.”

The plan to use that money will require a vote from the board to change the bond, but the plan is to use that money to begin Phase 1 of the plan this summer. The summer project will be at Hillendale and the middle school, most particularly, but also in some of the other buildings.

Though the board is looking at pay-as-you-go, they aren’t ruling out other financing options, including from the state.

“There may be some opportunities for grants and certainly we always look for that,” Sanville said. “Regardless of that, we can’t let that stop us from making sure our buildings are taken care of.”