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Greencastle-Antrim School Board revisits renovation plan for middle, high schools

August 29, 2013|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Students are packed like sardines in Terri Orkwiszewski's biology class at Greencastle-Antrim High School.
By Roxann Miller

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — Cramped quarters in the Greencastle-Antrim School District have caused the school district to take another look at a building project it shelved two years ago because of the economic downturn.

On Thursday, the Greencastle-Antrim School Board held a work session to revisit a renovation plan for the middle and high schools.

Mark Barnhardt, senior vice president of EI Associates in Harrisburg, Pa., who completed the district’s original feasibility study, prepared a PowerPoint presentation on the project.

“We are at capacity,” Superintendent C. Gregory Hoover said. “There’s no room.”

“Now you are at capacity, but the longer you wait, the worse it gets,” Barnhardt said.

The cost of the middle school/high school building project is estimated at $28.5 million.

“It won’t be just $28 million, because you’ll have to have additional staff” for the buildings, board member Michael Still said.

Student population growth is the catalyst of all the district’s concerns, Hoover said.

“The next couple of years is critical. We’re at the tipping point,” he said.

“We have grown more in the last 20 years than all of the Franklin County schools combined,” Hoover said.

In 1993-94, Greencastle-Antrim’s student enrollment was 2,267. This year, enrollment was 3,126, according to school documents.

Some of the fifth-grade classes at Greencastle-Antrim Elementary School have 30 children, Hoover said.

In the primary school, there are 21 and 22 students in some classes, he said.

“This year we had to move two second-grade classes (from the primary) to the elementary building. You don’t really want to take the second-graders out of the building that everybody else is in,” Hoover said. “But we just didn’t have any place to put them in the primary.”

Hoover said the district might have to use trailers to accommodate the needs of the growing district until the construction project is completed.

Based on Barnhardt’s estimates, it could take until 2017 until the middle school/high school building is ready to be occupied.

At the board’s Sept. 5 meeting, the school board will vote on whether to renew EI Associates’ contract to continue the building project, vote to hire EI Associates to proceed with information gathering as it pertains to the building project, and vote to hire EI Associates to apply for the LEAD certification grant.

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