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District Thanks Community Members for Service

By Adam Reinherz
The Tube City Almanac
April 29, 2022
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A series of presentations at Wednesday’s meeting of McKeesport Area School Board congratulated community members.

Superintendent Mark Holtzman Jr. dedicated his initial comments to honoring former McKeesport Mayor Louis Washowich and presenting Washowich’s family with a plaque highlighting the late civil servant’s contributions to communal betterment.

The honorary gesture, Holtzman explained, was the suggestion of School Director Dave Donato, who in February said that Washowich should be recognized in the McKeesport High School Hall of Fame.

Washowich’s son Michael accepted the award and thanked the group before recounting the late mayor’s childhood, time at McKeesport High School and efforts to serve the city.

The latter, Michael Washowich said, spurred his father to eventually find “his true passion in life [which] was mentoring young men on the football field.”

By cultivating collective success through McKeesport Little Tigers, Washowich learned how to be an effective mayor, according to his son: “My dad impacted the lives of so many people with the Little Tigers, with the city of McKeesport and certainly he impacted my life as well.”

27 years earlier, according to the son, an application was submitted for Washowich’s admission to the hall of fame. Now that his father was finally accepted, Michael offered gratitude to the school board, Holtzman and assistant superintendent Tia Wanzo, before concluding, “Dad, Couch Lou, ‘The Mayor’ …you’re a mighty Tiger and a hall of famer.”

The more than 50 attendees at Wednesday’s meeting greeted Michael’s remarks with a standing ovation before acknowledging the achievements of several student athletes and teams.

After celebrating McKeesport’s bowlers and girls high school basketball players, the school board heard presentations dedicated to improving school zone traffic lights.

Chris Owen of Malvern-based Traffic Products, Inc. noted that his company’s equipment employs cloud computing in an effort to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians.

Ultimately, the equipment, engineering and permitting will cost approximately $60,000 for each of the two devices, a representative of Pittsburgh-based Senate Engineering Company told the school board.

Mindy Lundberg, school board president, thanked State Sen. Jim Brewster for helping secure funding to cover the costs.

A subsequent presentation to the school board from a representative of ABM Industries indicated that, between Feb. 1, 2021 and Jan. 31, 2022, the district saved an excess of $89,321 due to various energy savings measures, including retrofitting LED lighting in the high school, utilizing a new control system at Twin Rivers Elementary School and helping seal the building envelope.

In other business, district officials discussed concerns about water intrusion at Founders Hall Middle School.

School board members were told that the district’s water mitigation system isn’t moving water away from the building effectively. Instead, the incorrectly sized system and downspouts end up pouring water into the foundation.

Although the pooled water will likely result in future costs, the school board was told that federal funding may be available to help address the issues.

Adam Reinherz is a Pittsburgh-based journalist. He can be reached at adam.reinherz@gmail.com. 

Originally published April 29, 2022.

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