Report says space among top Waynesboro school needs

March 30, 2000|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Space, aging mechanical systems and an inadequate computer network are the significant problems plaguing the Waynesboro Area School District, according to a Harrisburg, Pa., consultant hired to look into the district's strength and weaknesses.

The Waynesboro Area School Board paid the EdVise consulting firm $21,000 for the study. The board will hear a final report on May 16, said Schools Superintendent Robert Mesaros.

The consultants met with administrators and employees in all of the district schools, plus government leaders in the boroughs and townships that send students to the district. Students come from the boroughs of Waynesboro and Mont Alto and the townships of Washington, Quincy and Guilford.

The consultants also considered Pennsylvania Department of Education enrollment projections in their study.

While there is a lack of space in nearly every school in the district, school population is not the biggest problem. The consultants said Washington Township is the only jurisdiction in the district seeing growth.


There are 900 vacant home lots in the township and they are being occupied at a rate of about 50 a year, consistent with growth since 1990. "These new lots will most likely not generate any significant impact on student enrollment," the consultant's report said.

According to the report's projections, grades K-5 will see enrollment climb from 1,852 in the 1998-99 school year to 2,118 in 2008.

The middle school, grades 6-8, will see a slight decrease in enrollment from 986 students last year to 977 in 2008, the report predicts. High school enrollment will drop from 1,343 last year to 1,224 in 2008.

Among problems found by the consultants in the school buildings is a need for more general-purpose classrooms in the elementary and middle schools. The middle and high school cafeterias are overcrowded and noisy, and storage areas are now being used as classrooms, the report says. Science facilities need to be updated, as well.

The schools need new or upgraded computer labs, better networking of computers between buildings and more cable hookups, the consultants said.

Mesaros said the last school bond issue was approved by voters in 1988. It paid for renovations in the high school, the consolidation of two junior high schools into a single middle school for grades 6-8 and moving the ninth grade to the high school.

He said the three major problems that the school board has to face in the near future are the need for more special education classrooms, more computer labs and modernization of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

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