Report: Most schools overcrowded

March 03, 2004|by DON AINES

Depending on what numbers are used, either 13 or six of Chambersburg Area School District's 18 elementary schools are overcrowded, according to figures reviewed Tuesday night by an advisory task force studying the district's building needs.

The second of eight planned meetings by the 45-member panel, this one studied the existing facilities of the district. Paul Taylor, the director of educational architecture for Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates of Mechanicsburg, Pa., led the members through pages of statistics on the district's buildings.

In conducting a districtwide feasibility study, Taylor presented two sets of numbers regarding the buildings and their current enrollment.

If, for planning purposes, the district wants a maximum of 22 students in most elementary grades, then seven schools are above 90 percent of their capacity and another six exceed 100 percent of capacity, Taylor said.


Based on a maximum of 25 students per classroom, three schools exceed 90 percent and three others are over 100 percent of their capacity, Taylor said. Using that figure, the King Street, Coldbrook and Marion schools are the most crowded, his figures stated.

Using either set of numbers, the district is operating above 90 percent capacity for elementary schools. "You're starting to get crowded when you hit 90 percent of capacity," Taylor said.

Looking at other facilities in the elementary schools, five have no cafeteria or gymnasium space and three house their libraries in temporary classroom buildings.

The situation is similar at the secondary level, where Chambersburg Area Middle School is at 102 percent of capacity, Faust Junior High is at 97 percent and the high school is at 96 percent, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh figures.

"With the current grade groups, and very high enrollments, all three secondary buildings would benefit from expansion of facilities," the report stated.

Each member of the task force was asked to fill out a questionnaire to give Crabtree, Rohrbaugh a feel for what they want in the following terms:

  • Number of schools.

  • Elementary school size.

  • Maximum class size

  • Grade configurations for the elementary and secondary schools

  • What amenities should be offered at the schools.

The large number of elementary schools is due to the consolidation years ago of six school districts into the Chambersburg Area School District, according to school board member Eugene Gayman.

Enrollments in the elementary schools range from 85 at Letterkenny to 443 at Hamilton Heights. The district's oldest school, Scotland, was built in 1916, but is being replaced by a new one now under construction, according to Crabtree, Rohrbaugh.

The group will meet again Tuesday, March 16, to look at district enrollment projections.

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