CASD wants Reserve Center

February 14, 2009|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The Chambersburg Area School District is lining up support to try and get ownership of the U.S. Army Reserve Center in anticipation of it becoming available in 2011.

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners received a letter Thursday from Superintendent Joseph Padasak asking for its support in its effort to acquire the building at 721 S. Sixth St., which is less than a block from both the district's administration building and Chambersburg Area Senior High School.

Padasak said similar letters have gone out to the Chambersburg YMCA, the Borough of Chambersburg, the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority and the Franklin County Area Development Corp. (FCADC).

"We have two years before we need it. Then, we're going to tear down the Bamboo Building," Padasak said Friday. The "Bamboo Building" actually is a tan metal warehouse next to the administration building the district will demolish to make way for more parking once the $74 million high school expansion is completed.


Padasak said he hopes the center can be conveyed to the district at no cost.

The U.S. Army is building a reserve center at Letterkenny Army Depot, with construction beginning this spring, said Jerry Warnement, the Reserve/National Guard coordinator at the depot. He said $14.9 million has been authorized and appropriated for the center, which will become operational in 2011.

The center will be next to a training center at the depot, which currently is hosting a Georgia National Guard unit for training, Warnement said.

The reserve centers in Chambersburg and Greencastle, Pa., and perhaps other installations, are to be consolidated at the depot when the new center opens, Warnement said. The Chambersburg center is home to the 324th Military Police Battalion.

The center will be used for storage and to house offices for the Building and Grounds and Food Services departments, now housed at the former Stevens Elementary School, Padasak said. Other offices in the former Coke building also would be moved to the center, he said.

Maintenance and warehousing functions at the Coke building will remain there, said Sylvia Rockwood, the district's director of information services. The future of the former Stevens Elementary School would be determined later, she said.

"We would certainly like to work with the community for the best possible use of that building," Rockwood said.

FCADC President L. Michael Ross said his organization favors the district's plan, which will require getting the support of U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa.

"As part of the process, we're hoping Congressman Shuster can insert language into the Defense Authorization Bill to make sure that occurs," Ross said. One reason for the letters from the district is to make sure there are no other government entities or organizations that might lay claim to the building, he said.

Shuster is aware of the school district's efforts, said Jeff Urbanchuk of Shuster's office. The district is compiling information on its plan to present to the congressman at a later date, he said.

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