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Sharpe school to reopen March 16

February 25, 2009|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Mary B. Sharpe Elementary School will continue into its second century as a educational institution next month, this time as an alternative school for Chambersburg Area School District students.

What once was the Broad Street School, Sharpe opened its doors in 1907 to students in first through eighth grades. It later became an elementary school and in the fall of 2007, it celebrated 100 years of continuous educational operation.

Sharpe was closed last year after students from it and the former King Street and U.L. Gordy schools were consolidated in the new Benjamin Chambers Elementary School.

The school will reopen March 16 for students in the district's alternative education program, Eric Michael, assistant superintendent for secondary services, said at Wednesday's Chambersburg School Board meeting. The program, run under contract by Manito Inc., will be moving from the former Duffield Elementary School near Fayetteville, Pa., he said.

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The alternative education program now serves 37 students who are assigned to it because they were unsuccessful in regular school because of academic or behavioral problems, Michael said.

The district decided to move the program because of "heating and ventilation issues" that would be too costly to fix this year, Michael said. The district also could realize some savings on transportation costs by moving the program closer to the district's center, he said.

Duffield, which opened around 1930, was closed at the end of the 2006-07 school year. The students who attended that school were transferred to a new Fayetteville Elementary School about three miles away.

"Next year, we're looking at some additional programs and additional consolidations" at Sharpe, Michael said. That includes the alternative high school program currently housed in leased space on Cleveland Avenue, he said.

That program serves 67 students this year, Michael said. The school is for students who have withdrawn from Chambersburg Area Senior High School and are "taking another path to getting their diploma."

These students did not leave high school for disciplinary reasons, he said.

Some small classroom programs for students with special needs also could be consolidated at Sharpe, Michael said. Some of those are housed at school district property that once was part of Letterkenny Army Depot, he said.

Whether Duffield will be retained by the district or sold has yet to be determined, Director of Information Services Sylvia Rockwood said.

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