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No one shows at school closing meeting in Chambersburg

May 29, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. -- One hundred years of continuous education at Mary B. Sharpe Elementary School on Broad Street will be coming to a close at the end of this year, with its students and those from King Street Elementary moving into a new $17.5 million school.

Public hearings were held Wednesday night on the closing of the two schools. The closings have been in the works for a few years, so it came as no surprise to administrators when no parents, students or former students showed up for the hearings, which are required by state law.

Sharpe passed the century mark at the beginning of this school year, while the present King Street was built in 1961. The history of King Street Elementary, however, dates back more than 150 years, the first school having been built in 1857, according to the school's Web site.

That history includes it having been used as a temporary hospital for Union soldiers after the battle of Antietam and for Confederates prior to Gettysburg, according to the site.

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Sharpe, originally the Broad Street School when it opened in 1907, served both elementary and intermediate students in those days, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Services Catherine Dusman said.

"The memories of Mary B. Sharpe School will go on for many, many years," Dusman said. What will happen with the two buildings has yet to be determined, but groups have expressed interest in both sites, particularly King Street due to its being downtown.

The students from Sharpe and King Street will be attending Benjamin Chambers Elementary School when it opens in January 2009, according to school officials. Chambers is being built on the site of the former U.L. Gordy Elementary, whose students are attending Fayetteville Elementary until the new school is completed.

Sharpe, King and Gordy each had one classroom per grade from kindergarten through fifth grade while the Chambers school will have four classrooms for each grade.

Superintendent Joseph Padasak said crews will soon be working Saturdays and Sundays on Benjamin Chambers Elementary to make sure it is ready to open in 2009.

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