The West York school board is considering a $47.5 million recommendation to upgrade facilities that includes significant improvements to the high school, closing an elementary school and restructuring elementary grade levels.
The recommendation was presented to the school board Tuesday by the district's facilities committee. That committee includes some board members, community members and district administrators and has been studying the district's facility needs for nine months.
As part of the plan, Loucks Elementary School on West Poplar Street would be closed and Wallace Elementary on High Street would be expanded and used to house all kindergarten and first-grade students.
Students in grades 2-5 would attend either Lincolnway Elementary on West Philadelphia Street or Trimmer Elementary on Brenda Road.
If approved, the district plans to borrow the money at no tax impact to residents, officials said.
That's because bond payments on some previous projects will be paid off by July 2013, allowing the district to finance new improvements without the need of a tax hike to pay off the new debt, Superintendent Emilie Lonardi said.
What's next: School board president Rodney Drawbaugh stressed to those in attendance that Tuesday marked the
first time the board has heard the recommendations.
"We are going to take the summer and digest all of this," he said.
Drawbaugh said that no further action on the matter is expected until at least September and that a public meeting would be held prior to any board action.
Key components of the recommendation and their cost tags are as follows:
---The high school: Bonnie Sowers from The Ray Group, an architectural firm out of Lancaster, said the committee is recommending an additional 10 classrooms at the high school. Those classrooms would connect the two wings.
Recommendations also include a weight room, a secure main entrance that would require all visitors to check in, an addition to the cafeteria and the gymnasium, a renovated locker room and the addition of team rooms. The choral area would be relocated and updated.
"The addition of the spectator gymnasium is being recommended because any additions to the current gym will need to meet ADA requirements and will cause a significant loss in capacity," said Sowers.
Cost: $22.9 million.
---Wallace Elemen tary: In order to make Wallace a kindergarten and first-grade facility and convert from half-day kindergarten to all-day kindergarten, a two-story addition large enough to accommodate the district's first-graders would be needed.
The current facility would be used for kindergarten students. Sowers told the school board that the committee believes that grade alignment would best meet the district's needs over the next 20 years and would use staff and materials better.
Cost: $11.5 million.
---Lincolnway and Trimmer elementaries: Two additional classrooms would be needed at both Lincolnway and Trimmer. Both facilities would receive a secure main entrance. In addition, Trimmer would see a health room upgrade.
Cost: $4.5 million for Lincolnway and $3.5 million for Trimmer.
---District offices: As part of the recommendations, the district offices would expand to include a two-story addition that would house additional office space, storage and a conference room that could accommodate about 40 to 50 people.
Cost: $3.2 million.
Sowers said if the board decides to approve the recommendation, the work should be done in phases.
The first phase, which would go to design and approval in the fall, would include the high school, Wallace and the district offices. It would not be expected to be complete until the summer of 2015.
At that time, the board could move forward with the remaining renovations to Lincolnway and Trimmer.