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Pa. school agreement leaves some matters unsettled

December 20, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A land development plan for a new U.L. Gordy Elementary School was approved by the Chambersburg Borough Council this week, but the issue of what recreational facilities the district must build on the site has yet to be resolved.

The borough and the Chambersburg Area School District entered into an agreement in 2005 in which Chambersburg would deed the West End Playground to the district for $1 to become part of the site of a new elementary school. The approximately 6-acre property is adjacent to the existing U.L. Gordy School on Miller Street.

The design for the $21 million school has since changed, with the district planning a building for up to 600 students. The larger building and parking area required for the school make the remainder of the site too small to accommodate two lighted tennis courts the borough requires in the agreement.

"The submission of the plan did not include tennis courts," School District Business Manager Rick Vensel said. The resolution by the council, however, includes a provision stating that an occupancy permit for the building is contingent upon the district meeting all the conditions of the 2005 agreement.

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In the meantime, the approval allows the district to proceed with the planning process necessary to move forward with the project, Borough Manager Eric Oyer said. The school is scheduled to open at the beginning of the 2008-09 school year.

The agreement calls for the district to provide playground equipment and basketball courts, as well as the tennis courts at the school, which could be used by the public when the school is not in session.

"They still have that obligation unless there is some subsequent amendment to the agreement," Oyer said Monday after the council approved the land development plan. The council did not want the issue of the tennis courts to "become a roadblock to the process (the district) needs to follow" to get keep the school project moving forward, he said.

Oyer and Vensel said the borough and district are still in talks about amending the agreement.

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