HASD offices headed to library

HOLLIDAYSBURG – The Hollidaysburg Area school board has purchased the Hollidaysburg Area Public Library building on Clark Street as the new home for the district’s administrative offices, with plans to move in next summer.

In January, the board sold its 9,000-square-foot administration building on Jackson Street to the Presbyterian Village retirement community for $2 million.

District Superintendent Paul Gallagher said the district’s buildings were examined to determine whether they could absorb the administration offices, but there was not adequate room. He said the library purchase was a good deal.

“The library has 7,000 square feet. For us to build a building that size would have cost us a lot more,” he said.

As the district plans to move into the library, construction of a new public library building near Hollidaysburg Area High School is set to begin in June.

“We’ve been looking for a new location for a long time. We ran out of space and the current building is not handicapped accessible,” Library Director Janet Eldred said. “The new building will have more room for books and more computers. There will also be a community meeting room.”

School board members were happy to sell the administration building and elementary school building and put them back on the district’s tax rolls.

The $640,000 cost to purchase the library building is about equal to proceeds gained from selling the Allegheny No. 1 Elementary School building to Allegheny No. 1 LLC. Partner Drew Swope said a decision could be made in the next 30 days whether the group will develop the school into senior apartments or assisted living apartments.

As part of the sales agreement, the library staff will make all renovations to satisfy the district prior to the move into the building.

The renovations are to be completed prior to Aug. 1, 2014, to match the date the school board agreed to leave its current administrative building so that the Presbyterian Village could take it over.

Eldred said the building’s transition from the library to the school district appears smooth.

“Neighbors seem to be happy about it,” she said, referencing a recent zoning meeting during which public comments on the sale were all positive. “It seemed to work out for everyone.”

The library purchased private ground next to the Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School for its new location. Groundbreaking is scheduled for June 27.