Public to see alternatives to AASD project

Firms to present ideas Saturday

With a decision on an estimated $88 million high school building project looming, the Altoona Area School Board will hold a public presentation on Saturday to hear alternative plans from three architectural firms.

McKissick Associates Architects are slated to present first at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Altoona Area High School Auditorium, followed by ZEBH Architects and finally KCBA Architects.

KCBA is the board’s current architectural firm that proposed the estimated $88 million plan. The board put that project out to bid in February after about two years of discussion. The board expects construction bids to arrive this month, which will give it a clearer picture of the true cost for the project. A vote to award a contract or not is scheduled for April 9.

If the project continues to construction, a 0.61-mill tax increase is what the district administration said is needed to fully fund it, along with a wrap around of debt-service millage already built into the district’s budget.

More options with lower cost estimates were requested in January by board member Dave Francis, supported by a majority of others, a few of whom were newly elected in November.

The administration followed the board’s request by sending requests for proposals to five prominent architectural firms in the area, plus KCBA, said district Community Relations Director Paula Foreman.

Each of the three firms that responded to the request for proposal will have an hour to present its plans to the public on Saturday, Foreman said.

Francis said this week that he hopes for a large turnout of taxpayers to attend. He said residents including himself received their county and city tax bills over the past few days and they’ve gone up.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.