Quakertown Renovations Cost Much More than Expected

Joe Roatche

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Quakertown Community School District has enraged community members and former students, alike, with news that an additional $1 million will be needed for the near $72 million renovation project that is currently behind schedule.

An extra $1 million dollars will go into facilities for a brand new dance studio, technical education, as well as a program called “Project Lead the Way,” which puts an emphasis on STEM related fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

Money needed for renovations has already shut down two popular schools in the district – Milford Middle School and Tohickon Elementary.

“A lot of work hasn’t been completed,” said School Board Director Stephen Ripper in a statement. “Sidewalks weren’t poured, classrooms weren’t completed and whiteboards haven’t been put in.”

Ripper continued to vent his frustration with the project by telling reporters, “I don’t think, overall, they’ve addressed this construction properly.” Ripper emphasized that construction has created a bigger mess for their own faculty to handle.

Chris Ramassini, a Quakertown community member, was astonished upon hearing that more money was needed to fund a still behind-schedule construction project.

“As a parent I think it’s wonderful that children of the future will be able to enjoy a brand new school,” Ramassini told the board. “But obviously the company hired has not performed their side, which leaves the kids that have attended in the past and attending now yielding the effects.”

Ramassini was critical of the substantial amount of money the district is using to re-vamp the schools, but is supportive, nonetheless, saying “It’s an eye-popping amount of money, but it’s going to the right place.”

“We as citizen invest into our community,” she added. “And what better way to spend the money [than] by investing into education and kids who will shape our future.

Several former students share the same sentiment.

Jacob Powers, a graduate of Quakertown High School in 2015, said, “Yeah I thought it was awesome that we were getting a new school until I found out we would be going to class during it.” He added, “I remember sitting in math class and hearing drills, banging and everything but what I was supposed to be paying attention to.”

“We had to go to classes in trailers that are freezing in the winter and hot as sin in the summer,” he added. “Not to mention, in a school of thousands of kids, there were about two bathrooms we were allowed to use the whole time.”

Matthew Schaffer, another graduate of the school, was also displeased when talking about the delay the school faced saying, “I remember the first half of the school was supposed to be done by the time I graduated in 2015. By the time I graduated they still weren’t even close to being done the first half.”

Schaffer, who has been in and around the building since graduation, also said that the building is still “Not even close” to completion.

Dan Kulp, a 2014 Quakertown graduate, had a more positive take on the construction situation inside the district.

When talking about what it means for the community, Kulp said, “I think it’s going to be awesome to drive by the new school and know that you are a part of it, not only by your dollars but by the time you spent there, and the hard work you put in.”

He added, “As much as you want to hate on the amount of money it costs, it is 2017, and to have a something nice, we’re going to have to pay a pretty penny for it.”

Kulp embodies a small percentage of Quakertown community members, as most continue to have targets on the backs of the School Board and anxiously wait for the school construction projects to finish.

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