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Realignment recommended over building

October 09, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A pair of architects told the Waynesboro School Board Monday that the cheapest way to make room for students over the next decade will be to realign the grade system rather than build new buildings.

Mark Barnhart and Harold Anderson, representing E I Associates of Harrisburg, Pa., showed in a 30-page report on a study of the district's schools how best to realign the grades for maximum growth and efficiency.

The biggest change would be to make Waynesboro Area Senior High School, the district's most overcrowded building, a school for grades 10 to 12. It's now used for grades nine to 12.

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Taking away an entire class would also make room in the building for some much-needed renovation work while classes are in session, the architect said.

Waynesboro Middle School, currently housing students in grades seven through nine, would be converted to hold eighth- and ninth-graders.

Summitview Elementary, currently for grades kindergarten through six, would become a middle school for sixth- and seventh-graders.

The three remaining elementary schools would go from holding students in grades kindergarten through six to housing grades kindergarten through five under the plan.

Such changes are at least two-and-a-half years away, architects estimated.

The architects said that while the district's six school buildings are basically in sound condition and have been sufficiently maintained, all need to have their mechanical, electrical and lighting systems modernized.

They provided charts showing how each building would be able to handle the projected enrollments over the next 10 years if the projections, provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, hold up.

Total enrollment in the district at the end of 10 years is projected at 4,798 students. If the board adopts the proposed grade-level realignment and pays for some new construction at Hooverville Elementary, the district's smallest school building, the schools would have the capacity to hold 4,991 students at the end of the decade, the architects said.

Barnhart said it would take a year to design the changes and another 18 months for construction before the realignments could begin.

It's a very critical timetable, but the ultimate goal is to relieve the overcrowding in the high school and to find space without constructing a new building, he said.

"This is a very preliminary look, but we're excited by the concept," the architect said.

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