After a 5-4 vote Monday night, the Altoona Area School Board moved forward by awarding construction contracts for the new high school project that has been considered and heavily debated for over two years.

The total cost of the project will be over $87 million to taxpayers. With the 5-4 vote on Monday, the board moves to begin construction of the new “B Building” on the current intramural field on 7th Avenue and renovating the high school’s “A Building.”

School Board President Dutch Brennan, Vice President Wayne Hippo, Kelly Irwin-Adams, Rick Hoover and Bill Ceglar enthusiastically voted “YES” to award the bid for the high school renovations and additions to J.C. Orr and Sons Inc., a family owned and operated contracting firm located in Altoona.

Board members who voted against the project were Sharon Bream, Ron Johnston, Dave Francis and Ed Kreuz.

The building project is allegedly set to resolve issues with space in the elementary and high schools, while also meeting some other instructional needs of the district’s secondary programs.

The renovated and new high school buildings are expected to be finished by the district’s fall semester in 2020.