School addition okayed by council

By Lynn R. Parks

The Seaford School District is making progress toward construction of additions to its high school. Tuesday night, the city council approved final plans for the 63,000 square foot addition.

Voters approved the $36.5 million renovation package for the high school in May 2011. The state has agreed to pay 75 percent of the cost of the project, or $27 million, leaving about $9.1 million to be paid by local taxpayers.

During Tuesday night's public hearing on the high school expansion plans, city building official Josh Littleton said that the construction will increase the size of the school by more than 40 percent. The largest part of the construction will be a 50,000-square foot wing on the front of the building to accommodate the Delaware New Tech academy.

A second, 8,900-square foot addition off the high school chorus room will accommodate the school's planned culinary arts program. And a third addition on the south side of the building, about 3,000 square feet, will be for its planned agriculture program.

Littleton said that the additions will require the school district and the city to agree to a plan for maintenance of the school's stormwater, water and sewer systems. The stormwater management system includes the four catch basins on School Lane, near Central Elementary School. No such maintenance plan exists now, he said.

The city will also have to install a larger water main to feed the high school, Littleton said. As part of the construction project, sprinklers will be installed throughout the high school. The existing water main is too small to supply that sprinkler system with water, he said.

The city council approved the construction plans by unanimous vote (Councilwoman Grace Peterson was absent). The school district also has received necessary permits from the state fire marshal's office, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, which had to approve the stormwater management system, and the state Department of Health, which had to approve plans to replace the water main.

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