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Waynesboro school renovation plan to be discussed

December 11, 2005|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, PA. -

Waynesboro Area Schools Superintendent Barry Dallara showed a map of Washington and Quincy townships last week with 19 new or planned housing developments.

The projects - pending and approved - would, if all are built, result in nearly 2,600 new homes, according to Dallara's estimates.

Dallara's figures show that the growth would be spread around the townships, from Quincy and Mont Alto in the north to Rouzerville and the Borough of Waynesboro.

Dallara, speaking to the Waynesboro Rotary Club at its luncheon meeting Tuesday, outlined the school board's plan to spend $40 million to renovate Waynesboro Area Senior High School.

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None of the $40 million would be spent on additions or renovations at other district schools. Residents will get a look at the plans for the high school on Tuesday at a public hearing in the auditorium of Waynesboro Middle School. The hearing starts at 8 p.m.

In February, the Waynesboro School Board voted 7-2 to ask the state to reimburse the district for some of the costs.

School board members Leland Lemley and Todd Rock cast the opposing votes.

In September, the board directed its architect to start work on the design for the high school renovation plan.

The project would build the gymnasium, auditorium and a ninth-grade academy in a new wing of the 40-year-old high school building.

The board wants to separate the ninth-graders from the upper classes to help freshmen make the transition to high school.

The existing auditorium would be converted into a media center and library. The gymnasium would become classroom space.

Dallara told the Rotarians last week that the existing auditorium and the gymnasium are used for public functions. There is no secure separation between them and student and classroom areas.

The high school renovation project could add up to 12.9 mills to property tax bills by 2009-10, according to a financial consultant. Dallara has said that the estimate is "a worse-case scenario."

Lemley said in an interview last week that he opposes the most recent high school renovation plan because it leaves no money for needed repairs in two other district schools - Summitview Elementary School and Waynesboro Middle School.

When the board voted to borrow up to $40 million for school construction projects earlier this year, $24 million was supposed to be spent in the high school and $16 million on renovations at the other two schools, Lemley said.

"Back then, they said Summitview and the middle school needed serious renovations," Lemley said. "Now, they're spending $40 million on just the high school and they don't even mention the other two schools. That means they'll come back when the high school is finished looking for money to fix Summitview and the middle school."

Lemley said the seven-member majority on the board will have its way.




If you go



What:

Public hearing to give residents a look at renovation plans for Waynesboro (Pa.) Area Senior High School

When:

Tuesday, 8 p.m.

Where:

Waynesboro Middle School auditorium
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