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School Board Approves $2.4 Million in Field House Renovations

Stadium and soccer field improvements were also given the green light by the Saucon Valley School Board at their latest meeting.

After fervent discussion and two failed motions, the Saucon Valley School Board voted to approve $2.4 million in field house renovations at its Dec. 6 meeting.

The motion passed with a vote of 5-3. School board members Sharon Stack and Lanita Lum changed their votes to yes after discussing safety concerns, while school board member Edward Inghrim was absent for the vote. The three "no" votes came from members Mike Karabin, Susan Baxter and Bryan Eichfeld.

“,” board member Sandra Miller said, addressing fellow school board members before the last vote. “We are failing to do our duty with (these) drawn-out discussions.”

Miller said the issues related to renovating the field house have been discussed at least three times over the past four years.

“The field house is disgusting. It needs to be fixed,” Lum said. “(But) I don’t like the fact that in this economy, we are adding 3,000 square feet.”

She explained that she changed her vote due to safety concerns, but said she does not want to see a tax increase or programs sacrificed due to this project.

“Expanding in this economy doesn’t make sense,” said Eichfeld.

“I don’t know how relevant the economy is at this point,” school board member Ralph Puerta said. “There are still going to be kids in the school in 10 years. We’ve got to do something with it.”

Renovations will include improvements to the heating and air conditioning systems, and plumbing and electrical systems. In addition, there will be renovations to the locker rooms and visiting areas, as well as the construction of an addition that will house the weight room and public restrooms.

The school board also approved stadium upgrades suggested by the district’s insurance carrier at a cost of $147,000.

Soccer field drain removal was also approved at a cost of $57,000.

The school board did not approve replacing the stadium's current cinder track with  (at a cost of $457,500), nor did they approve replacing the field hockey field (at a cost of $271,810).

In other business, the school board voted to allow superintendent Sandra Fellin to advertise for the position of an all-in-one band and chorus director. Fellin said there may not be someone out there who is able to do both and be a good fit for the district, but said she would like to at least look. If someone is found to fill the position and the consolidation of the current middle and high school positions is approved, it would eliminate band for fourth grade students.

In a letter that was later posted on the Saucon Valley School District website, Fellin said the combining of middle and high school directorships is only "one 'option' for board consideration."

"I asked to see if such a person might be out there, so when positions are taken into consideration for replacement, I would have an answer if asked if we could reduce staffing," she wrote.

If no suitable candidate is found by January, "the board would need to decide between the remaining options of replacing both positions or replace with one full time band and one part time chorus," she added.

At the meeting, Fellin and principal Eric Kahler also announced two changes they would like to see at the high school.

They are looking at taking away a few art classes and providing pre-engineering classes instead. Fellin said the classes that would be cut would be jewelry-making classes.

Also, Fellin said she would like to have a dean of students at the high school to help assistant principal Lorie Gamble deal with numerous small infractions occurring everyday, so that Gamble can do more than just discipline students. The person in mind is a middle school math teacher and the creation of the position would not cost the district any money, according to Fellin.

George December 15, 2011 at 02:06 AM
None of you exhibit the maturity to serve in an elected position, or in any position of leadership and responsibility. You simply fire comments away on a patch message board without accountability. Sort of like me.
George December 15, 2011 at 02:08 AM
yes, a defiant spine is what is needed. you people do realize that there is a state-wide association of school-boards that coaches all of the board directors on how to do their job. Do you think that most of them are actually qualified when they are elected? For god' sake, if KATZ was elected, there really is no prerequisites....
Terri Simpson December 15, 2011 at 02:12 AM
Grow up Paula, reveal yourself coward are you the pedophile or a school board fake why do you feel the need to be hateful.
GrowUpSaucon December 15, 2011 at 02:39 AM
That's alright Terri. They don't bother me. Actually, I had another meeting today with the some Representatives and YES, I will keep going forward and trying to pass HB1971, among other things. Some silly fool won't stop me from protecting my children. What a pathetic life it must be to be a coward & behind a name just for the fun of bullying a mother for trying to have the school district move her children away from "8" pedophiles. Life will still go on.
Dennis Scholl January 05, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Can't find a fairly measly amount of money for music education, but the Saucon taxpayers are being asked to pony up $2.4 million for athletic renovations. I don't comprehend that amount of money, nor do I like it. I wouldn't like it even if Saucon produced good teams, which they have not as of late. If you're asking people to fund athletic renovations, then I guess you should be ready for comments about the quality of the athletic programs. Not that winning on the high school level really means a whole heck of a lot in the first place. The Board's decision to spend this amount of money is abhorrent. I'm in agreement with Terri Simpson about administartors' pay levels, too. This is Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township, folks, not Shangri-La.

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