According to two board directors, Kathleen Hohenadel and Charles Leader, the idea of a move was suggested at this month's Columbia Borough Community Development meeting. Hohenadel said the issue was announced at the meeting as if it was a "done deal." She said Borough Manager Greg Sahd stated that Tom Strickler, the district's director of operations, told him that the school board is in favor of the move. Strickler refuted that notion, however, and told the board that he never said that. He said he told Sahd that he needs to contact the school district and that the board may be open to have the discussion. He added that he told Sahd to email the school board president.
A joint feasibility study might be undertaken to determine pros and cons of the move. Hohenadel said the borough has put out a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) for borough properties including the Municipal Building (Borough Hall), the Market House, and the former Columbia No. 1 Fire Company building on Front Street. If all aspects of the plan fall into place - among them, the Municipal Building finding another use - borough offices theoretically could then move into the DAC. The borough would pay for use of the center, thereby helping the district, and in the process helping the borough and helping the downtown.
The idea of such a move is not completely new. Mayor Leo Lutz floated the idea at a previous school board meeting.
At discussion's end, Board President Keith Combs said he will contact Sahd to set up a meeting. He said he wants information from Luthercare and borough council before considering a feasibility study.