The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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February 24, 2013

Construction site starts to look like new school


It’s been two years since the old Case Avenue Elementary School was demolished to make way for a new $20 million school in Sharon.

The site between St. Joseph’s Church and Sharon Middle-High School has been a construction zone since the summer of 2011, as workers first removed the old school, then prepared the area for the new facility.

On Tuesday, Sharon City School District board members and district officials toured the new school, which is starting to resemble the artistic renderings of the school drawn up by Eckles Construction Services, New Castle.

The halls are coated with dust and pallets filled with 5-gallon tubs of sheet rock compound can be seen every few yards. Rolls of pink insulation sit waiting to be installed and the metal framework, pipes and wires remain exposed in several spots.

But in some areas, the halls are starting to resemble a school.

“Oh my goodness, it’s fabulous,” Case Principal Traci Valentino said.

“It’s beyond what I could even imagine.”

Tiger paws are being painted on the gym and the lights in some of the almost-finished classrooms shine brightly.

“It’s looking good. I think they’re doing a good job,” board member Chris Gavin said during the tour.

The district was awarded $19.5 million of that funding in Qualified School Construction Bonds through the federal stimulus program and took out another $7 million bond before they learned they’d scored the nearly interest-free ones that were part of the federal stimulus package.

Some of the bond money is being used for much-needed improvements to the high school swimming pool and stadium. Work at the pool is finished and awaiting final inspection and permitting, according to school superintendent John Sarandrea.

The new elementary school is smaller than the 87-year-old former high school it replaces. For the last two school years, Case students have used the former St. Joseph School in Sharon.

The school board last week approved a school calendar that delays the start of school until after Labor Day, which should be ample time for the project to be finished, Sarandrea said.

They also approved sending another round of the construction paperwork to the state for approval.

Officials from Eckles assured board members the project is “on schedule” to be completed by the start of the 2013-2014 school year.


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