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DASD reconfiguration: Next step is to look at Wasson

DuBOIS — The next step in a district-wide effort to improve and update facilities in the DuBois Area School District to support its educational programs and operating needs is to possibly build a new Wasson Elementary School. That planning process was discussed recently with Superintendent Luke Lansberry.

“The process related to planning for a possible new Wasson will be very collaborative between the architects, building engineers and the district’s design committee,” said Lansberry. “We’re working to put together a planning committee now. We’ve already established a schedule to hold many committee meetings to discuss the project and to ensure that the district’s goals for the possible new school are met.”

“Our goal has always been to tighten-up across the district so that we could then begin to afford to fix-up,” Lansberry continued. “Although the tightening-up process has been extremely challenging, and in some areas will continue, it is now time for us to begin planning seriously for the process of fixing-up.”

The process will also be very transparent, said Lansberry, noting that the district plans to hold many presentations to the board and the public. This includes:

  • The board will be updated regularly on teams’ progress.
  • The district will be holding two additional public presentations in May for parents, teachers, and the community to see the design of the building and to ask questions. This will be done on two consecutive nights to make sure people are available, Lansberry said.
  • Another public presentation will occur in October as part of the state-required Act 34. This will give the public another opportunity to review the project, review the cost, and ask questions.
  • As had been the case during the master plan study, the district will continue to include a folder on its website with updated presentations, images, and animations of the school so the community will continually be able to stay informed.

“Again, we want this whole process to be totally transparent, there will be no smoke and mirrors here,” Lansberry said.

“Finally, and probably most importantly, this project is about improving education for our youngest students,” Lansberry continued. “Moving fifth grade will help provide additional space for new curriculum, new programs, and opportunities for all of our K-4 elementary students.”

The decision to move fifth grade students from the four elementary schools to the DuBois Area Middle School was made by the board at the Jan. 25 meeting.

“The new facility will provide a state-of-the-art atmosphere for these children to explore new lessons in a safe and energy-efficient, 21st century environment,” Lansberry said. “Those are key points that I think people need to be aware of. We’re excited about this opportunity to build an improved educational future together that will most certainly enhance our educational program. We must always keep in mind that our top priority must be to design educational spaces that will help prepare our young learners for their future — not our past.”

A board work session will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday in the cafeteria of Wasson Elementary School. The meeting is open to the public.

KCBA Architects to work on designing a new Wasson Elementary

DuBOIS — KCBA Architects of Hatfield has been approved by the DuBois Area School Board to design and document a new elementary school at Wasson Elementary.

KCBA will work closely with district administrators to build upon the conceptual scheme that was developed for a new Wasson Elementary School and produce a state-of-the-art new educational facility,” according to the proposal letter.

KCBA will provide the services for a fee of 5.85 percent of the project’s total construction cost including building site work.

The fee will be broken down in the following phases:

  • Preliminary design (5 percent): February through March, $58,500;
  • Schematic design (10 percent): April through May, $117,000;
  • Design development (20 percent): June through August, $234,000;
  • Construction documentation (35 percent): September through January 2019, $409,500;
  • Bidding and awarding (5 percent): February through March, $58,500;
  • Construction administration (25 percent): April 2019 through September 2020

KCBA has been working with the district over the last six months to investigate a range of scenarios to meet the district’s long-term needs. This will continue their collaboration and take the first concrete step to reconfigure the district facilities to support the district’s educational program and operational needs, according to the proposal letter.

Penn Highlands DuBois reports 269 confirmed cases of flu

DuBOIS — 269 cases of the flu have been confirmed at Penn Highlands DuBois so far in what has been one of the worst flu seasons in recent Pennsylvania history. More cases were confirmed in DuBois as of last week than in all other Penn Highlands hospitals.

Penn Highlands Brookville has seen the second highest number of cases at 152. Penn Highlands Elk and Clearfield saw 102 and 80, respectively.

Penn Highlands Director of Infection Prevention and Control Sue Stiner said the hospitals are seeing more of Influenza A-H3N2 this year than any other strain.

The flu is more widespread this year. In previous seasons, flu is seen in different parts of the United States at different times,” Stiner said via email. “Most years, activity is usually not seen until January but this year, flu season started in November.”

Penn Highlands figures are in line with those reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. 499 cases of the flu have been confirmed in Clearfield County since early October, according to Health Department data.

Three hundred and fifty-six cases have been confirmed in Jefferson County and 218 in Elk.

Stiner said that the early start is partly why the flu is so widespread this season. Flu shots, she said, typically aren’t available until October and take two weeks to be effective.

More than 47,000 cases have been confirmed in Pennsylvania so far, according to the Department of Health. The number of influenza associated deaths in Pennsylvania, according to Department of Health data, currently total 91.

Stiner said that any individuals concerned with symptoms that could be related to the flu should see a doctor. She said there is a misconception that flu symptoms include stomach issues like nausea and diarrhea, which she said are often caused by food-related illness.

The most common symptoms of the flu, she said, are coughing, sneezing, a runny nose, a fever and body aches.

“You feel really wiped out and tired, and achy all over,” she said. “And you usually have a fever.”

Stiner noted that the flu can be more problematic for older and younger patients. She advised that those with the flu stay home and cover their coughs or sneezes.

She also said that flu shots are still available.