Southmoreland School District officials are hoping East Huntingdon Township supervisors will consider taking over the athletic fields located at the former Ruffsdale Elementary School.

The district has been looking to sell the property for over a year, but some board members, including James Beistel, were hoping a deal could be made with East Huntingdon officials to take over the athletic fields so that they could continue to be used by the community.

Other school board members and even community members have been pushing for the sale of the former Ruffsdale school property as soon as possible so the proceeds could help out revenues in a struggling budget.

At a recent school board meeting, officials approved a resolution stating the district would cooperate with the supervisors to perform an analysis and evaluation of the potential for subdivision, which would transfer ownership to the township of the athletic fields, roadway into the property for the purpose of making it a public road and also the land area needed to accommodate and support the roadway and the fields.

As part of the motion, they also gave permission to East Huntingdon officials to enter the Southmoreland school property during regular hours on business days for the purpose of conducting a topographical survey, returning movement, conducting an analysis of the leach field, appraising the fields and the building and conducting an analysis for preserving or relocating the Veteran’s Memorial.

While Directors James Carson, Charles Frye and Aimee Love were absent from the meeting, the other directors all voted in favor of the action.

“This is the best results we’ve had on this whole thing in the last two years as far as I’m concerned,” said Beistel.

In other business, school board members passed a resolution for the continuing employment and reappointment of school police officers Greg Keefer, Mark Price and Alex Byers subject to the approval by the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County.

Solicitor David Petonic said the action was necessary to be in compliance with the new legislation, Act 67 of 2019.

The resolution also included a list of the police officers’ power and duties, which included: enforcing good order in school buildings, on school buses and on school grounds, the issuing of citations for summary offenses or the authority to detain students until the arrival of local law enforcement if authorized by the court, the authority to carry firearms of the officer has satisfied the requirements to do so.

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