Upper Adams locker, team room renovation nears end

Students at Biglerville’s secondary campus will soon be able to use new locker and team rooms that have been under construction since July.

Upper Adams School District Superintendent Wesley Doll said at Tuesday’s school board meeting that the final inspection passed and finishing touches were in the works.

“[We’re] getting ready to open everything up and…utilize those areas. They look really good,” Doll said.

Final bills need to be paid, but business administrator Shelley Hobbs expected the estimated $2.8 million project to come in under budget as of Tuesday.

The school board voted in February 2023 to seek bids for locker and team room renovations to the boys’ and girls’ facilities used by middle and high school students. Oversized rooms with outdated fixtures had not seen major upgrades since the 1970s, according to school officials.

Renovation began during summer break, continued throughout the first semester and into the holiday break.

On Tuesday, pristine gray lockers of various sizes sat empty, waiting to be filled with students’ belongings. Gone were communal showers, replaced by single use stalls. Wooden benches hugged the walls around the perimeter of the rooms, just beneath lockers. New sinks gleamed. Through a connecting hallway, a spacious classroom with unblemished whiteboards, desks, chairs and shelving units awaited young learners.

In other business Tuesday, Principal Beth Graham said the high school plans to add sociology and foreign language independent study to its 2024-2025 course offerings, pending board approval.

Graham said the social studies department researched other schools’ offerings and determined a sociology class would benefit students at Biglerville. The semester-long course would be available to seniors.

The proposed sociology course description states students who choose to take the class will learn about “the individual’s place in society, social organizations, social institutions, and social change.”

The class would include sociological terms and methodology, with a focus on human relationships, according to the course description.

The proposal to add foreign language independent study was influenced by a desire to provide learning opportunities to the high school’s most advanced Spanish speakers, according to Graham.

At the high school, a special set of Spanish classes is offered for “heritage speakers” who come from Spanish speaking families. Graham said heritage speakers often take advanced placement Spanish during their junior year then have no further Spanish classes available to them for their senior year.

“What we would like to do is offer an independent study and that would allow them to actually work with documents, do translating for things…and put them in a position to really apply their skills,” Graham said.

The proposed course description states students who choose to take the class would “grow their linguistic skills through daily translations and interpreting scenarios that are appropriate and non-confidential.”

This would include being interpreters and tutoring students during class, the description reads.

The semester-long course would be available to seniors who have passed the AP Spanish exam with a score of four or five, and have teacher approval.

In a brief voting session Tuesday, the board voted to hire Brian Booher as the director of student services at a prorated salary of $102,000. Booher replaces Brad Showers, who will serve the high school as a learning support teacher.

Board member Marya Djalal was absent for the vote.

The board’s next voting meeting will be Jan. 16 at 7 p.m.

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Mary Grace Kauffman, freelance reporter, worked six years as a full-time reporter for newspapers in Pennsylvania and Maryland. She has covered topics including business, crime, education, government and features. Mary Grace has a bachelor's degree in communication/journalism from Shippensburg University. She resides in Adams County.

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