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Marion and Coldbrook elementary schools to close

June 25, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. -- The Chambersburg Area School District will close two more elementary schools in 2010 as part of its future comprehensive redistricting plan.

District spokeswoman Sylvia Rockwood said the district will close Marion and Coldbrook elementary schools in an effort to provide 21st-century education and avoid costly repairs to aging facilities.

The district already has closed six of its smaller elementary schools and consolidated the students into three new, larger, more efficient and more modern schools, Rockwood said.

Most recently, students at Mary B. Sharpe, King Street and U.L. Gordy elementary schools merged into Benjamin Chambers Elementary School.

The district now has 14 elementary schools. Most schools house between 250 and 550 students, but three -- Marion, Coldbrook and New Franklin -- each have less than 150 students.

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The Marion and Coldbrook schools are in need of significant repairs and upgrades, Rockwood said.

Closing the older schools and opening a newer building with state-of-the-art technology will provide the district with significant operational cost savings, she said.

"Chambersburg had a large number of neighborhood elementary schools," Rockwood said. "As these facilities aged, the district looked at the cost-efficiency of maintaining these facilities coupled with the inability to upgrade many schools with appropriate technology for learning in the 21st century."

The new schools offer more modern amenities while still keeping enrollment below 600 students, Rockwood said.

While the district has announced the two schools are scheduled to close at the end of the 2009-2010 school year, it has not finished its redistricting plan, she said.

The plan should be complete by the fall of 2009, as will a transition plan for the 182 students.

When questioned about comments received so far from parents since the announcement of the closings, Rockwood declined comment.

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