Consultant's report says Waynesboro schools need renovations

May 31, 2000|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Renovating buildings, not adding classroom space, is the most pressing need facing the Waynesboro Area School District, according to a consultant's report delivered this week.

EdVise, a Harrisburg, Pa., school consulting firm, was paid $21,000 for a districtwide study of what is right and wrong in the six schools.

If the most comprehensive plan recommended by the consultant is adopted by the School Board, local taxes would fund about $34 million in renovations, with the state kicking in another $9 million. The least expensive option would cost $100,000.

The problem is aging school buildings, according to the report. The 1,340-student Waynesboro Area Senior High School opened in 1961. Many of its heating, cooling and other mechanical systems are failing, and the school's electrical system is inadequate to meet modern standards and allow for schoolwide computer systems.


In the high school, middle school and four elementaries, lighting is for the most part inadequate and windows need to be replaced, the report says.

Upgrades must be made to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and many buildings need new roofs, Schools Superintendent Robert Mesaros said.

"It's a thorough report on the conditions of our facilities with four solid options for the board to consider," Mesaros said.

The $100,000 option would include minimal repairs. The other three would cost the district more than $30 million. The board could opt for something in between, Mesaros said.

He also said the work could be spread over time and funded in the district's annual budgets. Mesaros did not rule out the possibility of a bond issue to pay for some of the work.

While student enrollment is not expected to increase substantially in the next decade, the consultants pointed to a need for more general purpose and special education classrooms in some buildings. Storage is also a problem, the report said.

The district needs to upgrade and add computer labs and establish better computer networking between buildings, according to the report.

Another option would be for the ninth grade to move from the high school to the middle school and the sixth grade to move to the elementary school, the report said.

According to the state's projections, enrollment in kindergarten through fifth grade will go from 1,852 in 1998 to 2,118 in 2008, a 14 percent increase. Enrollments are projected to drop through 2005, then start creeping back up as 2008 approaches.

The middle school, grades 6 to 8, will see a slight decrease in enrollment from 986 students in 1998 to 977 in 2008. High school enrollment will drop 9 percent from 1,343 in 1998 to 1,224 in 2008.

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