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Students, parents 'thrilled' with new Scotland school

December 22, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

SCOTLAND, Pa. - After racing each other to one end of the expansive gymnasium and back, fourth-grader Skyler Miller and fifth-grader Byron Fry said what they like about the new Scotland Elementary School.

"Having more stuff in our room, like TVs and DVD players. A bigger gym with six basketball hoops," said Skyler.

"Just about everything," said Byron. "The kitchen is cool, too, because it's got purple tile."

The two, and about 350 other students will make the short move to the new Scotland school on Monday, Jan. 3.

On Tuesday night, hundreds of students and parents toured the Chambersburg Area School District's newest building.

The old Scotland school started as a one-room schoolhouse in 1916, librarian Patricia Sweeney said. A second room was added in 1937 and two larger additions were made in 1950 and 1958, she said.

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James Taylor, the assistant superintendent for elementary services, said the new school next door cost $9.3 million to build, excluding costs for land acquisition, furnishings and equipment.

"This is really our prototype for any new elementary schools we build," said Taylor. The district plans to build two more in upcoming years, one to replace Fayetteville (Pa.) Elementary School and one in Chambersburg that likely will result in the closings of the Sharpe, Gordy and King Street elementary schools.

The new Scotland will have two classrooms for each grade through the rest of this school year, but Regional Principal Reid Pletcher said it will be near capacity with approximately 450 students when the third classroom for each grade is filled in 2005-06.

The attendance area for the school will be expanded, drawing students from Fayetteville and Grandview elementary schools, Taylor said. The school is in Greene Township, one of the fastest growing residential areas of the district, Pletcher said.

Beginning in January, Taylor said, the district's gifted seminar program will move to Scotland from New Franklin Elementary. In 2005-06, Scotland will be home to one of two all-day kindergarten classes in the district, a pilot program drawing students from throughout the district who officials feel will benefit from additional schooling, he said.

Sweeney said the new school has plenty of computers, with two in each classroom, 10 in the library and 30 in a computer lab. That impressed parent Kristi Hensley who has two children, Skyler and Payton, attending and a third, Trysten, who will be a student there one day.

"All the technology, from the LeapPads for the kids to the computers, and they'll actually have an art room," she said. "This is a huge improvement. I'm excited."

"This area is expanding very quickly and the (old) school is very old and out of date," said Carla Bender, whose children, Miranda and Jordan, are students. Still, she said her family will have "lots of good memories about the old school."

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