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KCSD board to meet about future of Dickey Elementary

MILL HALL — A special voting meeting for the Keystone Central School Board will likely decide the future of Dickey Elementary School in Lock Haven.

The voting meeting will be held beginning at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Central Mountain High School cafeteria. Although the agenda posted online is brief, the presentation portion of agenda includes a packet entitled “2020 presentation of Dickey Closure.” The presentation is a comprehensive 57-page look at test scores, attendance, enrollment and options if the board does indeed vote to close Dickey Elementary.

Following the presentation, there will be a chance for visitors to address the board. The agenda states that “visitors wishing to address the board of school directors are welcome to do so at this time. We request that you keep your comments and questions limited so that everyone has a chance to be heard. There is a sign-up sheet for anyone who wishes to address the board.”

At KCSD’s work session on Feb. 7, it was revealed that the aging school is in need of a new transformer, which is located inside the school. Board member, Jeff Johnston, chair of the facilities committee, talked about the cost of the work and the scope of the project.

“We have a situation where we have to make a decision and we have to make it rather quickly,” Johnston explained. “It will have an impact on what will happen next year as far as Dickey is concerned. There is a transformer that is in the building that is very old and it definitely must be replaced, certainly before next school year.”

According to Johnston, administrators from PPL said that the transformer needs to be replaced and it will cost the district approximately $250,000 to complete the project.

The transformer news came on the heels of a facilities report in January, which was conducted by Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates. During that meeting, Jeff Straub of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates said that Dickey needs several million dollars of renovations to bring it up to ADA standards. The school, he said, needs three elevators to comply with the Federal Americans with Disabilities act. Over time, the cost of the project would range between $8.5 to $10.2 million.

During the January presentation, Dickey Elementary had the lowest FCI of KCSD’s elementary schools, at 40. The 40 FCI translates to the upper end of “poor,” which means “worn from use or age, end of expected life cycle.” The ratings, Straub said, are based on nine different criteria.

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