High school design process to go forward, board rules

November 09, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - After much debate and uncertainty over the shape of things to come, the Chambersburg School Board Wednesday voted to authorize the district administration and architects to continue work on designing the renovation and expansion of Chambersburg Area Senior High School at a cost not to exceed $81.7 million.

The board voted 7-2 to proceed, despite having not yet received a recommendation on the future of the district's career and technology program, a key element of its secondary school program.

Board President Craig Musser and board members Norman Blowers, David Sciamanna, Renee Sharpe, Stanley Helman, Thomas Orndorf and Lori Leedy voted for the motion, with board members Paul Ambrose and Fred Rice dissenting.

The motion calls for renovating and expanding the school to accommodate 2,000 students in grades nine through 12. The school currently has grades 10 through 12, although more than 300 are enrolled at the Franklin County Career and Technology Center with 10th- and 11th-grade students taking both career and academic courses at the center all year.


Plans are for seniors to attend the comprehensive school all year beginning next year, with ninth-graders to be added in the future, as well. Not decided is whether the district will educate those students at the existing technology center, build its own center, or take over the existing center.

The board in September voted to spend $50 million on the high school project and another $40 million on its as yet undefined career and technology program. At October's Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting, however, the architects reviewed a plan for the high school that could carry a price tag exceeding $81 million.

"This discussion is just pointing out why we have a problem with the decision we made," Orndorf said. "I don't see how you're going to snap your fingers and send 1,000 kids to vo-tech."

"Until we know what kind of program we're offering at the career tech, how will we determine how many children are going to go there?" Sharpe asked.

Ambrose said he wants to hear the recommendations of the career and technology program study before proceeding further with the high school.

That plan would approximately double the size of the school and include an indoor swimming pool, an additional gymnasium and a new auditorium. Architect Paul Taylor said stripping those pieces from the plan would trim the cost for the high school to about $65 million.

Plans for the secondary project are hoped to be finalized by April.

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