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Involve Public In School Plan

Shadyside Board of Education members have been discussing a massive project to construct a new school. The sooner a substantial percentage of the public becomes involved, the better.

Though construction of the new school complex is not expected to begin for several years, it is not too early to increase public awareness of and support for the project. That is because of the estimated cost — about $60 million.

Tentatively named Hill

View, the new facility would house all of the district’s students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12. Enrollment in those grades for this year is approximately 767, according to the state Department of Education.

If funding can be secured, the school would be built on land now occupied by Leona Middle School and by a former park owned by the village of Shadyside.

During a recent meeting between school and village officials, an engineering firm representative referred to the project as “a $60 million-plus effort.” He added that state funding of about $20 million is expected to be available.

Much of the financial picture rests on whether the proposed PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker plant is constructed at a site just south of Shadyside. If that happens, it is expected the company will provide Shadyside schools with about $38 million, spread out over a 19-year period.

That certainly would cover much of the local cost of the project. Still, some funding through property taxes approved by voters probably would be needed.

For that reason, substantial involvement by the public needs to be obtained. Again, the sooner, the better. Taxpayers like to be involved in planning big projects for which they will have to bear a share of the cost.

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