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Design for State High School Project Expected by Mid-2015

by on July 28, 2014 9:00 PM

A timeline for the State College High School renovation project is taking shape, with the design team reviewing a planned calendar with the school board Monday night.

Ed Poprik, director of physical plant for the district, says since voters approved the referendum that secured funding for the $115 million project, designers have been busily working -- formally starting the land development process, surveying and documenting existing conditions, and reviewing grant applications for additional project funding.

A design calendar can be reviewed HERE.

Design is expected to be complete by mid-2015, with drawings made available to the public through the process; specifically in October, January and April.

The board will first review a preliminary design Oct. 13. High school staff and students will review the plan the week of Oct. 20. There will be a public forum the week of Oct. 27. Tentatively, a board work session is slated for Nov. 3.

Construction is expected to begin next summer and take roughly 30 months.

A construction management team will be on the high school campus for the duration of the project. In total, the team, which includes Poprik, has 137 years of experience working in the district.

"I am very ecstatic to be able to put this kind of team forward at this point in time to be able to manage this kind of project," says Poprik.

Officials have described the two-building campus as unsafe. Students must cross two bus lanes and Westerly Parkway to get to different classes throughout the day. There are 93 doorways where students constantly go in and out that are not continually monitored.

In May, voters overwhelmingly supported the project at State High. The total project cost is estimated at $115 million with a 5.3 percent interest rate and a term of 30 years. The $30 million balance will be funded through the appropriation of a current tax.

Under the approved referendum, the resulting 7.2 percent tax increase will be determined based on a property's assessed value. The district calculated the percentage tax increase based on the 2013-2014 property tax rate of 38.75 mills, or $38.75 per $1,000 of assessed value.

In other news, Thomas McKee, insurance broker with The Hartman Group, reviewed potential insurance coverage for the district related to data breaches, network security and network extortion. The insurance can also cover civil liability.

McKee says data breaches and the release of sensitive information is a "very fluid topic right now ... with criminals finding new ways to access information and insurance companies are scrambling to keep up with them, quite honestly."

If there is a breach, and information, such as grades, student medical information or employee information, is released, an agency must notify potential victims "within a reasonable amount of time" or face civil liability, says McKee.

McKee estimates the annual premium for such coverage, including $1 million in liability for various breach issues, to be roughly $13,500.

Currently, the district does not have insurance coverage for its data housed within the district or equipment that leaves the district, such as laptops and other devices, says Randy Brown, the district's business administrator.

Brown asked the board to consider the coverage. The board may vote on the matter at a future public meeting.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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