High school information meeting set

The public will have a chance to speak about the topic at a special meeting on Aud. 28.

The public will have a chance to speak about the topic at a special meeting on Aud. 28.

August 07, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Members of the Chambersburg school board will hear two reports tonight that will help guide them to a decision on whether to build a new "mega high school" or switch to a two-high school district.

Parents won't get the chance to have their say until a special meeting later this month.

"There will be discussion between members of the board. There will be no public comment because we will reserve Aug. 28 as the time to take public comment," Superintendent Edwin Sponseller said.

Tonight's meeting of the Chambersburg Area School District's Building and Grounds Committee begins at 7 p.m. in the school administration building at 435 Stanley Ave. The Aug. 28 meeting will be an open public forum at the same time and place.


Ted Raybold, assistant superintendent of pupil services, will present a report on how the district would be divided into two high schools to achieve socio-economic balance. Eric Michael, assistant superintendent of curriculum, will offer a second report, this one comparing the operational costs of one high school versus two.

This is strictly a discussion session, Sponseller said, and no decision will be made by the board.

For more than two years the district has been discussing ways to reconfigure its secondary schools, which currently includes grades six and seven at Chambersburg Area Middle School, grades eight and nine at J. Frank Faust Junior High School and grades 10 through 12 at Chambersburg Area Senior High School.

A dozen options have been narrowed down to three, including:

  • Two high schools that house grades nine to 12. That would require building a new high school north of town for about $48 million and renovating the existing high school for about $39 million.

  • One high school for grades 10 to 12 at the existing building and locating ninth-graders at the middle school. Renovating Chambersburg Area Senior High School would still be necessary and would cost about $39 million. It would cost about $35 million to build another middle school that would split the sixth, seventh and eighth grades with J. Frank Faust Junior High School.

  • Build one "mega high school" for grades nine through 12 that would house up to 3,000 students and cost about $86 million.

The Parent Advisory Council asked the board at last month's meeting to make a decision by October, citing the already lengthy process and the effect the overcrowding at the high school is having on the students.

Sponseller has said, however, the Board of School Directors is not working on a timeline.

Once a decision is made it will take two years of planning before construction can proceed, which will take another two to four years.

A new high school could cost more than $80 million.

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