Some schools mull changes to accommodate growth

Improvements are needed at some schools in the Tuscarora School District, while the Waynesboro Area School District is looking a

Improvements are needed at some schools in the Tuscarora School District, while the Waynesboro Area School District is looking a

September 16, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - A check of southern Franklin County school districts shows that one district needs a nuts and bolts fix for its problems, another is looking at realigning its grade schedules and a third has no immediate building concerns.

William Konzal, superintendent of the Tuscarora School District in Mercersburg, said all seven of the district's buildings were the subject of a feasibility study recently completed by E.I. Associates of Harrisburg, Pa., a school consulting firm.

"It was a dynamite study, a full analysis. It looked at all of our building needs," Konzal said.

Tuscarora Middle School, the district's oldest, is in the worst condition, Konzal said. Built in 1953, the school's last renovation was done in 1960.


The school was closed for a month in 1999 when a steam line in the heating system broke. Classes were moved to buildings around town.

"It needs a new heating system, windows and doors and lighting and plumbing and electrical upgrades," Konzal said.

Konzal said replacing the heating system will cost $1.5 million.

The cafeteria and gym are original, he said. The building has sufficient room, but some classroom space has to be reconfigured.

"The bottom line is that it will be better to renovate than build new," Konzal said.

Montgomery and Mountain View elementary schools need more space and lighting and electrical upgrades, the study said.

The next step is for the board to pay for an engineering study to determine renovation costs.

Pennsylvania reimburses local school districts for building renovations on a 20-year schedule.

The Greencastle-Antrim School District has renovation projects and local bond issues coincide with the state's reimbursement schedules, Superintendent P. Duff Rearick said. The last major renovation was completed in the primary school last year.

"We renovate every 20 years," Rearick said.

The district's buildings are in good condition and are expected to meet growth needs for the next seven years.

Members of the Waynesboro Area School District are discussing grade realignments.

The current configuration is kindergarten through grade six in the four elementary schools, seventh and eighth grades in the middle school and grades nine through 12 in the high school.

One plan being considered would add 18 classrooms to Hooverville Elementary School and convert all the elementary schools to a kindergarten through grade five schedule. Sixth- and seventh-graders would get their own building, as would ninth-graders. The high school would house grades 10 through 12.

Larry Glenn, School Board president, said the board will hire an architect to advise it on the grade level realignment plan that would be best for the district.

Glenn said some school buildings are stretched to the limit. Space for special education classes and computer labs has taken up regular classroom space, he said.

Many buildings need electrical, heating and air conditioning upgrades.

"Structurally, they're sound because they've been maintained pretty well, he said.

The high school presents a major problem, Glenn said.

"It's not overcrowded, but there's no space to expand," he said.

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