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Waynesboro school officials discuss plan for overcrowding

November 10, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- The topics of crowded schools and five modular classroom buildings already scheduled for removal combined Tuesday as Waynesboro Area School Board members debated how to plan for the future.

Modular units at Waynesboro Area Senior High School must be removed by June 30 due to requirements associated with renovating the school.

Superintendent James Robertson said he received estimates that the district could get $81,000 to $90,000 if it sold the units, which range in size from 12-foot by 6-foot to 24-foot by 26-foot and larger. They can be used for up to six classrooms.

"We do have some crowding issues at some of our elementary schools," he said.

Every classroom in the district's elementary schools is used, except one room at Mowrey Elementary School, Robertson said. Some closets were converted into space for small-group instruction, he said.

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Although overall enrollment has been up and down in recent years, Robertson said the Pennsylvania Department of Education predicts growth at the elementary level in the next five years.

"They give you the same crazy numbers," board member Leland Lemley said. "They haven't been worth the paper they're printed on."

Robertson said Hooverville Elementary School will need another classroom and another first-grade teacher in 2010-11 because of a large kindergarten class there now.

"There are already 75 Hooverville students that attend Summitview" Elementary School, Assistant Superintendent Evan Williams said.

Adding modular classrooms to Hooverville and/or Summitview could ease the pressure to re-designate attendance areas, which is becoming increasingly necessary, he said.

Robertson suggested one unit added onto Summitview could be used for music and art classes, freeing up other spaces. Children eat lunch in the music room and hallway when the cafeteria is full.

"Every tiny bit of space in our schools is utilized," board member Pat Heefner said.

"You're looking at $275,000 to move these (five) and install them on one site," Robertson said, saying most of the costs come from surveying and land development. Tying new classrooms into security and fire alarm systems also adds expenses.

Board member Ed Wilson suggested that new modular classrooms might be similar in price when moving costs and sale profits are part of the equation.

The superintendent asked that a feasibility study be done to provide better cost estimates. Business Administrator Caroline Dean noted the district would seek bids for land development and moving.

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