HS groundhog photo for web

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Members of the Punxsutawney Area School Board gathered Thursday to discuss last-minute touches and questions concerning the upcoming school year.

Punxsutawney Area School District students head back to class today (Sept. 10), a few weeks later than other area students, due to the renovation and combining of its schools.

Six elementary schools were combined into the middle school, and the PAHS will hold seventh through 12th graders.

One of the first “unfinished business” items discussed was the sale of five elementary school buildings, which board members hope to be further along by November. School representatives are working on getting the appraisals back for that, said District Superintendent Thomas Lesniewski, and hope to have a resolution by the October meeting.

Board members have agreed that auction sales are the best way to go about the sale of the buildings and other items.

Agencies and organizations in the Punxsutawney community have bid on certain items before the auction, such as kitchen appliances, and the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club has agreed to transport the three groundhog statues to another location.

Lesniewski recently accompanied parents and students to their first-time visit to the new elementary school, located at 465 Beyer Avenue, where he witnessed a “positive reaction from parents,” he said. The students very much enjoyed the new cubbies and skylights, as well as the classrooms, the superintendent reported. The elementary school includes a full-size gymnasium, cafeteria and auditorium.

“Kudos to everyone on our staff who made all of this happen,” said Board President Dr. Kyle Lingenfelter. “I think this district can be proud.”

Football stadium

They are still working on the PAHS football stadium, which will have its sign dedication ceremony held soon, Lesniewski said.

School police officer

Board members are also discussing advertising for a school resource/school police officer, or “officer in charge” position, in order to up the safety and security measures at the school.

“Our ultimate goal is to make our students feel safe when they come to school every day,” Lesniewski said.

The maintenance staff had a couple of workers at the schools over the weekend, ensuring everything was in place and ready to go for Monday. Board members thanked the maintenance staff for all its hard work in bringing these renovations to fruition.

The Board will vote on requested approvals Tuesday evening.

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