North Clarion readies for new year

Renovations nearing completion; several grants come in

By Amy A. Wozniak



North Clarion School District is in the midst of various renovations expected to be completed before school starts Aug. 28.

The kitchen renovations in the elementary school are progressing as the flooring, the cooler and walk-in freezer were installed this week, North Clarion Superintendent Steven Young said at the Aug. 5 school board work session.

"The appliances are coming as well," Young said.

Some painting also was completed in the kitchen.

"Things are moving along," Young said.

Young also updated the school board on the status of the track renovation, saying it has been milled and will be repaved. Then a company from Michigan will apply the surface.

The school district also is expected to reduce the size of the track from 440 meters to 400 meters.

"They are usually 400 (meter) tracks," Young explained to the board regarding standard track sizes.

Closing in the distance by five-and-a-half inches will make the track 400 meters, but will cost the district an extra $14,000.

Young noted that even with the additional $14,000, "We're still under budget."

The school district also is awaiting news from the Pittsburgh Pirates grant.

The district applied for $25,000 to fix its baseball field. If the district receives the funding, the money would go toward a homerun fence, dugouts, drainage and repairs to the infield.

Keystone School District received a $5,000 grant in 2016 through the Pittsburgh Pirates Charities "Fields for Kids" program.

The "Fields for Kids" program is one of Pirates Charities' signature programs and provides financial support to improve youth baseball and/or softball facilities.

North Clarion School Board Member Lori Gatesman asked if there would be enough room for the track if the district installed a homerun fence.

Young assured her that there is enough room, but said the district may have to modify the cross country route and will make certain the route's distance isn't affected in doing so.

Gatesman also asked if the bleachers were being renovated to which Young said Buckeye Bleachers from Ohio will be modifying one side of bleachers next week.

The district also recently finished the installation of a nine-hole Frisbee golf course.

Young said the course was funded from a Highmark grant and will be incorporated into gym classes and can be used by students after school. The public also is permitted to use the course.

Young announced the district received an $11,000 Rural Low-Income School grant, the purpose of which is to provide rural districts with financial assistance for initiatives aimed at improving student achievement. The grant is non-competitive, and eligibility is determined by statute.

The grant funding is coming at a time in which the school is growing with 11 requests from families to pay tuition to have their children be part of the district.

Young said the tuition rate is $3,300 per child with discounts for a second child from the same family. There are six elementary and five high school tuition students registered for the fall.

Young said the total enrollment for the high school is 287 and North Clarion Elementary School Principal Keith Hastings said there are 339 students enrolled in the elementary school.