As the students, teachers and parents prepare for the final stages of Centennial School District's consolidation process, the answer to the question of what will happen to the vacant , and buildings became a little clearer during Tuesday night's school board meeting.
With a unanimous vote, the board directed the Real Estate Counsel to prepare an agreement of sale for the properties to County Builders for a grand total of $1,275,000 ($425,000 per site). The agreements will include a 60-day period for both parties to perform due diligence, plus an additional 30 days until the closing date.
County Builders has not made public its intention for the sites, but since they are all zoned as R2, it's a safe bet that they will be turned into residential units and incorporated into the surrounding neighborhoods.
Centennial Business Adminstrator Chris Berdnik said that the revenue generated from the sales would be reflected in new budget projections for Monday's Finance Committee meeting. The most recent adjustment showed an assumed revenue of $850,000 from the sales of the Dot Henry Satellite School to Ivyland Borough, Leary and Stackpole.
According to the consolidation schedule, at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year Stackpole students will join the former Davis Elementary students at the new Region 1 school, and Longstreth students will move to McDonald Elementary, then the entire school will transfer to the new Region 2 building in March 2013.
Leary students have already transferred to the renovated and expanded . Centennial leased classroom space at Leary Elementary to organizations such as the Bucks County Intermediate Unit, BARC and Head Start, convincing them to move out of Warminster's WREC Center.
The hole in the township's parks and recreation department's budget, forcing Warminster administrators to explore options to either sell the property or make capital improvements to dramatically improve the building's condition. Either choice will require the township to purchase the reversionary interest clause that Centennial has maintained since signing over the lease for the former Hart Elementary in 1988.
The school board also approved a $92,870 agreement with Reynolds Consulting Engineers to commission William Tennent, Willow Dale, McDonald and Davis after the construction projects are completed. The group will test and review all of the buildings' systems and utilities and ensure they meet the estimated performace specifications.
The lone dissent in the 8-1 vote came from school director Jane Schrader-Lynch, who found it "interesting" that Reynolds Consulting Engineers is a sister company of Reynolds Construction Management, which has overseen the district-wide project since 2008.
Generally speaking, many engineering experts recommend that third party firms conduct commissioning services to ensure an unbiased report free from any conflicts of interest. If a particular item does not meet the agreed expectations, it would be on the builder's shoulders to pay for any repairs and adjustments. The potential added cost could tempt a subsidiary to overlook any discrepancies.
Centennial Superintendant Dr. Jennifer Cressman and Operations Committee chairwoman Kati Driban said such a scenario would be highly unlikely because Reynolds Construction Management directed the progress of the school construction, but other contractors and sub-contractors performed the actual work.
"If something needs to be addressed," said Driban, "Reynolds engineers will put together an action plan, and it will be up to the contractors to pay for its execution."