Bucks County Herald

Palisades students’ water bottle refill station may find permanent home

CLIFF LEBOWITZ

A special project developed by a team of Palisades Middle School (PALMS) students may be headed for permanent installation as part of school district facilities.

During his facilities management committee report at the April 5 public board meeting, committee Chair Bob Musantry said eighth-graders from the Project LEAD program at the school had developed a water bottle refill station, and that district Transportation, Food Services and Warehouse Director Gerry Giarratana would be “testing it out” for possible permanent use.

A presentation on the equipment is expected at an upcoming board meeting.

The Project LEAD program is related to the PALMS sustainability curriculum. Teams of students, supported by expert volunteers from the Palisades community, competed to develop plans that could be implemented to help make school infrastructure and operations more sustainable. Students posed in career roles of project manager, project engineer, business manager, construction specialist, design coordinator, public relations, and environmental specialist.

Meanwhile, in the latest district arts initiative, Musantry said the committee is recommending the deployment of portable performance stages for Durham Nockamixon and Springfield Elementary schools, replacing permanent stage installations that have deteriorated to the point of safety concerns. The cost, which is included in the district’s draft budget for 2017-18, is $54,894, including freight and handling.

In an investment to help minimize energy costs, the committee is recommending committing funds from the 2016-17 budget to start work this summer on replacement controls for heating and cooling at Durham Nockamixon, with remaining funds to come from the 2017-18 budget, for a total cost of $255,998. The system is to be nonproprietary, taking advantage of previous district experience with proprietary systems, which presented special difficulties when repairs were needed.

Regarding the high school science wing renovation, which was left out of the school’s 2003 overall renovation, the committee is expecting three architect proposals at its next meeting on April 26. During discussion at the April 5 board meeting, a consensus emerged to also engage a special firm to perform an architectural oversight function for the project. The district already has experience with one such firm at PALMS, and is targeting having one lined up by the April 26 committee meeting.

In other budget news, Giarratana praised district school principals for their accomplishment of a 63 percent reduction in supply costs during the last few years, including their development of innovations to eliminate some supply needs.

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