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Tamaqua eyes feasibility study for school improvements

Published February 22. 2019 12:41PM

Tamaqua Area School District Superintendent Ray Kinder discussed the possibility of a feasibility study with the school board Tuesday night.

Kinder said he planned to bring two matters to the board next month concerning “some of the things that we need, as well as in order to address some of the other issues that we have in terms of trying to bring our instruction, our assessment, our curriculum more up into the new way of doing things.”

Kinder said he met recently with EI Associates from the Harrisburg area, and said the district has many capital expense needs.

He cited secure entry; security surveillance in all of the district’s buildings; parking lots and driveways; exterior lighting; track resurfacing; wiring upgrades; HVAC systems in multiple buildings; auditorium lighting; storage issues; bleacher repair; windows; flooring; STEM labs and technology upgrades.

“We have a (great) number of projects that are going to be coming,” Kinder said, “and they are going to need to be taken care of soon. We’re getting very close to having some major issues.”

Kinder said Tri-Valley School District recently had a feasibility study done and he suggested one for Tamaqua.

“A feasibility study where they would come in and they evaluate you not only from a security and a code perspective, but also from the new design and the way that we create educational spaces and academic spaces in buildings,” Kinder said.

“As much as it drives me crazy, kids don’t sit at desks and do work anymore; they’re curled up in a ball with things on their knees, and it makes me insane to see it, I lose my mind, but that’s the way they work. They don’t work like we used to work or the way that we had to; for better or for worse, it’s just not necessarily happening any more.”

Kinder said he obtained a price on how much a feasibility study would cost and it was less than he thought it would be, adding that it’s not necessarily a budget item.

“It’s not as though it’s going to be a tremendous amount of money,” he said. “It gives us a lot of information to be able to make good decisions moving forward, and develop a plan for addressing some of these things. Part of that is part of our personalized learning.”

Also next month, Kinder said he will suggest some technology and some wiring purchases.

He said the district is looking at getting some devices, such as Chromebooks and iPads, into each one of its areas, high school, middle school and elementary.

“Our principals and our teachers in our buildings have been working extremely hard over this last year coming up with different lesson planning and different ways of phasing this in,” he said. “So, we think it’s a start to be able to try to address some of the issues that we see moving forward.”

Kinder said the matters need to be a priority.

“Because we can’t wait,” he said. “I don’t know how long we can wait and continue to do this.”

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