The Adams County Industrial Development Authority (ACIDA) is partnering with the Bermudian Springs School District (BSSD) on a community and economic development project—being called the Northern Adams Childcare and Community Health Project—that aims to repurpose the district’s former middle school.
The project was sparked by Dr. Shane Hotchkiss, BSSD Superintendent, who engaged the Adams Economic Alliance, ACIDA’s umbrella organization. As BSSD is constructing a new middle school, Hotchkiss had a vision to utilize the old school for the community’s benefit, and at the same time, address critical and current needs.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to bring essential services to the region,” said Robin Fitzpatrick, Alliance President. “There is far more demand in the county for critical services such as child care, mental and behavioral health services—and this deficit directly impacts workforce availability—a top concern for the retention and attraction of businesses.”
ACIDA’s eight-member board of directors, in partnership with BSSD, propose a $3.4 million construction project that will focus on select demolition and adaptive reuse of the old middle school, including the renovation of two gymnasiums.
On March 31, ACIDA submitted a grant application to the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program through the Governor’s Office of the Budget requesting $1,500,000 to offset the project’s total cost of $3,436,348—the first step in funding the community project.
“BSSD is excited for the opportunity to partner with ACIDA, along with a mental/behavioral health provider, and a third-party daycare provider to bring these critical services to Northern Adams County,” said Hotchkiss.
The proposal calls for an education-based daycare to be privately operated by a qualified and licensed third-party provider. Childcare would be available to anyone—not just those residing within the school district. Additionally, the project would renovate former classrooms into offices for a mental/behavioral health facility.
Childcare needs are escalating in Adams County. According to Diana Fasnacht, Ready to Learn Director at United Way of Adams County, there are 5,143 children under the age of five in the county, and only 11.6 percent are in quality childcare—defined as providers who have earned the state’s Keystone Stars ratings. Of those preschoolers, 56 percent are from households at the 300 percent federal poverty level or lower.
ACIDA is chaired by James Williams of CE Williams Sons, Inc. Additional board members include Vice Chair Ronald Hankey, Treasurer Max Felty of Gettysburg Tours, Secretary Justin Hockley of Hockley & O’Donnell Insurance Agency, Assistant Secretary/Treasurer Kaycee Kemper who is the Alliance’s Vice President, Kenneth Farabaugh, Mike Showers of Showers Fruit Farm, and Michael Hanson, Lake Heritage Community Manager.
It is the mission of the Adams Economic Alliance to develop and implement creative community-based strategies to enhance economic opportunity and foster a dynamic framework for balanced growth and development through the Adams County Economic Development Corporation, Adams County Industrial Development Authority and Adams County General Authority. For more information, see adamsalliance.org, or follow the Alliance on Twitter (@AdamsAlliance), Facebook (Facebook.com/AdamsAlliance) and LinkedIn (Adams Economic Alliance).