MILTON — The Milton Area School District school board on Tuesday unanimously approved moving forward with a $10 million renovation project at Baugher Elementary School.

John Howard, of the Architectural Studio, told the board he will be drafting the final bid specifications and documents, and securing any necessary approvals from federal, state and local authorities in the coming months He expects the project to be placed out for bid next summer.

Pending board approval of the bids, he said construction should start Oct. 1, 2020, and take 18 months to complete.

He noted students will be in class as the work is done, and will be moved to various sections of the building to accommodate the work.

Howard said the estimated construction cost of the project is $8.3 million, while soft costs and contingencies bring the project budget to $10 million.

The board in July approved borrowing $9.9 million, to be used for renovation projects in the district. The district secured a 2.7 percent interest rate for the borrowing, which will be paid back through 2047.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, Superintendent Dr. Cathy Keegan said the renovation project will be focused on replacing the doors, floors, walls and windows in the building. Upgrades to the HVAC system will also be made, and a new sprinkler system will be installed.

“We are not extending the footprint of the building,” Keegan said. “All of the renovations will be done within the building.”

The board also approved carrying out phase three of a project to replace the roof of the former Montandon Elementary School building. The board voted in June to close the building, consolidating students and staff to Baugher Elementary School.

Dr. Brian Ulmer, the district’s director of Secondary Education, said phase two of the replacement is currently being completed. The contractor offered to complete phase three now — rather than wait until next summer as had been initially proposed — at an approximately $7,000 discount to the district. With the discount, the phase will cost approximately $138,000.

Following the meeting, Ulmer said phase one was completed at a cost of $147,000, while phase two cost $188,000.

During the height of the 2018 rainy season, Principal Philip Heggenstaller reported the roof had 33 leaks.

Kevin Fry was the lone board member to vote against moving forward with phase three of the repairs. While discussing the potential work on the roof, he questioned what will happen with the building in the future.

Keegan said she has met with three organizations interested in utilizing the building.

“Two of the three folks I spoke to, if the board is interested in selling, they are interested in buying,” Keegan said.

If the board is interested in leasing the 27,000-square-foot facility, Keegan estimates it could bring in $215,000 in alternative revenue to the district.

“I have an organization ready to hit the ground running (using the building), as soon as they receive a not from the board,” Keegan said, adding that she has meetings with two entities today which are interested in leasing the building.

“We’re not in the rental business,” Fry countered. “This just might be a money pit.”

In other business, the board approved:

• The following coaches: Chad Lytle, head middle school football, $2,005; Bing Pursel, assistant girls soccer, $4,175; Janna Bond, high school assistant cross country, $4,175; Heather Walsh, high school assistant cross country, $4,175; and Mattison Ishman, junior high cross country, $2,873.

• The following resignations/retirements: Margie Heggenstaller, elementary nurse assistant; Bonnie Rake, custodian; Helen Snyder, bus aide; Katelyn Williams, learning support aide; Michael Balliet, third-grade teacher at Baugher elementary; Maggie Parker, full-time substitute; Megan Roberts, fourth-grade teacher at Baugher elementary; and Lindsay Weaver, half-time high school French teacher.

• Hiring: Michelle Bower, full-time substitute, Aug. 22 through June 30, 2023, $207.79 per diem; Nicole Anderson, third grade, $56,345; Joshua Meck, elementary position, $49,537; and Ashleigh Sheets, eighth grade special education, $48,311.

The board denied a request for a sabbatical request for restoration of health filed by an unidentified employee. Two grievances filed by unidentified members of the Milton Area Education Association were also denied.

Jackson Kling, a third-grade student at White Deer Elementary School during the 2018-2019 school year, was named August Citizen of the Month. He led the Pledge of Allegiance during the meeting.

The meeting included a 30-minute executive session to discuss personnel matters.

Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email

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