CVSD considers renovation options

During a feasibility study on Monday, the Conewago Valley school board directed its superintendent and the architectural firm it has contracted with to further explore renovating its schools rather than building a new facility.

The district will also look more deeply into an audience member’s suggestion to pursue a modified version of its renovation plan.

The board spent two and a half hours listening to details about its options, taking in community opinions, and discussing its next move. Anthony Colestock, a senior project manager for Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, recapped price estimates for the board.

The district’s feasibility study has stretched on for nearly two years as the board has gathered data and estimates to help form its decision. (The district’s public documents about the study can be found here.)

The board has three formal options.

With the first, the board may choose to renovate and add on to both elementary schools, making less drastic renovations at Conewago Valley Intermediate School, New Oxford Middle School, and New Oxford High School.

The second option is to adopt a one-campus model, building a single elementary school and making less extensive renovations to the other schools.

The third option is also a one-campus model, but it involves building a new K-1 school while emptying Conewago Township Elementary and adding an addition for grades 2-3 at New Oxford Elementary. The other schools would receive fewer renovations.

While the district could also choose to do nothing, the board has thus far indicated it feels the need to make some improvements to address security and capacity concerns, make the elementary schools more fair, and to handle aging, difficult-to-maintain facilities.

Another suggestion brought by an audience member during the time for public comment is, in essence, a modified Option 1.

The speaker asked that the board consider keeping the kindergarten wing of NOE while adding onto the rest of the school, hoping that would be cheaper than an entirely new building and result in less disruption for students.

Some community members have spoken out against a one-campus model. During both Monday’s feasibility study and previous meetings, audience members have voiced concerns about demolishing or selling CTE, which they see as having both sentimental and practical value. Some audience members voiced concerns about a loss of community and potentially longer bus rides for students if the district moves to a one-campus model.

The district began the feasibility study in May 2021, and during the meeting, both audience members and board members expressed a desire to make a decision soon.

Board president Edward Groft said he worried that building a new facility would stretch the district’s finances too much.

When asked for her opinion, Superintendent Sharon Perry identified herself as a “fiscal conservative in nature” and cited public opinion the board has heard so far, seeming to point to the first option.

“Based upon the public comment, based upon the conversations, and having been a part of this process since its inception, at this time my recommendation would be to move forward with the additions and the renovations in place, mainly because we’re capable of providing a space that we would anticipate through future enrollment numbers we can meet the need,” Perry said. “But as the leader of the school, I’m a visionary and I’m charged with is: ‘What is going to be impacting our school district five years from now and 10 years from now?’”

Perry noted that several of the district’s plans, including hopes to increase its staffing, have not yet come to fruition, and that other factors in the community could also affect the district in the future.

The board directed Perry and Colestock to continue with Option 1. They will gather more solid figures and learn whether the suggestion to add onto NOE while retaining the kindergarten wing is a viable modification and what the price tag would look like.

No vote was held to determine a final decision.

Colestock summed up the next moves for his firm and the district.

“Next steps: as noted, we’ll have to have continuing conversations about what projected enrollment you want to adopt to determine a planning number,” Colestock said. “Then we’ll meet with the building principals just to do a verification of the educational programs to make sure that the capacity we’re planning for is going to meet the enrollment projections.”

At the same time, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates will look at what might be possible at NOE.

“While we’re having those discussions, we can look at that option of keeping the existing kindergarten wing (at NOE) and doing new additions on the opposite end,” Colestock said. “At some point, we’ll bring all of that information back to the board and see if they’re satisfied with all of the information that they have so that they feel comfortable with approving to move forward with one of the projects.”

Some board members expressed disappointment at the low turnout, saying they hoped for more community input.

The board will hold a study session and voting meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, May 1 in the district board room.

A regular board meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 8 in the district board room.

Website | + posts

Imari Scarbrough is a freelance journalist. She was a staff newspaper reporter for five years before becoming a freelancer in 2017. She has written on crime, environmental issues, severe weather events, local and regional government and more.

You can visit her website at ImariJournal.com.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
>
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x