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Lower Makefield board approves $30M middle school project


Pennsbury’s Charles Boehm Middle School will be transformed over the next few years after the Lower Makefield Township Supervisors approved a $30 million renovation and addition at the school at 866 Big Oak Road in the township.

Board members voted 4-0 at their May 18 meeting to approve an amended final land development plan for the project after a presentation by Project Engineer James Lynch of D’Huy Engineering. Joining the meeting via Zoom were Pennsbury School District Superintendent Thomas Smith, Boehm Principal Travis Bloom and the project’s architect.

Work is scheduled to include a 7,845- square-foot addition with enlarged spaces for music, choral and drama classes, renovation of the cafeteria, renovation of bathrooms geared toward accessibility and a new HVAC system including, for the first time, air conditioning throughout the school.

Parts of Boehm will be elevated to prevent future flooding and there will also be extensive exterior work, said Lynch. He and others involved with the project expect it to start in the summer of 2023 and be completed two years after that.

Students and staff will remain at the school during the work except for the sixth grade, which will be temporarily relocated to Pennsbury High School in Falls Township, Lynch added.

In other actions from the meeting, the supervisors entered into an agreement with Jersey Professional Management to conduct a township manager search at a cost not to exceed $25,000. The firm was contacted by township Police Chief Ken Coluzzi about doing the search.

Township Manager Kurt Ferguson is resigning effective July 4 to take the same job in Upper Dublin Township, Montgomery County. Lower Makefield officials and Ferguson are working on an agreement that would keep him working for the township on a part-time consulting basis beyond that date, if needed. Ferguson has said he would not let any continuing work he does for Lower Makefield interfere with his new job in Upper Dublin.

The supervisors also voted to accept the resignation of Public Works Director Greg Hucklebridge effective June 20. It’s conditioned on reaching a satisfactory agreement for Hucklebridge to stay on as a part-time consultant beyond that date to help finish some major projects in Lower Makefield while also working at his new job as public works director in nearby Northampton Township.

“I’m uncomfortable conditioning his resignation on his coming back as a consultant,” Supervisor Daniel Grenier said. “It’s not fair to him and to others who won’t be able to talk to him after hours.”

Grenier nonetheless ended up voting to accept the resignation and accompanying condition.

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