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Dover Area school officials consider construction
Dover Area School District is looking to reconfigure its school buildings, including the possible construction of a new high school to accommodate expected growth in future years.
Superintendent Ken Cherry, during a recent school board meeting, made a presentation to the board outlining a couple of paths the district could choose to house its growing student body, which state data projects will increase yearly.
The presentation was brought on following questions about how the district would be able to facilitate the expected increase in students.
This concern was one of several brought up by the Washington Township Education Coalition in its attempt to transfer to Northern York School District, a move that was denied by the state's board of education in September.
According to the presentation, Dover's elementary-level buildings are at about 71 percent capacity. Intermediate school facilities are at about 73 percent, and the high school is at about 62 percent.
Individual school buildings range from 62 percent capacity at North Salem Elementary to 94 percent at Lieb Elementary.
Plan: Cherry presented two different scenarios to reconfigure the district's buildings.
In the first, the district would have two K-3 buildings, two 4-6 buildings, a single intermediate and a single high school.
This would allow officials to make the best use of the classrooms and marginalize resources. However, it would increase the number of building transitions for students to four and could potentially lead to redistricting.
In the second scenario, the district would have one K-1 building, one 2-3 building, one 4-5 building, one sixth-grade building, one 7-8 building and a high school. This building set-up would increase the number of transitions for students to five, but it would also allow for full utilization of classrooms and resources as well as reduce facility costs long term.
Both options would add time to students' commute, causing some bus rides to last more than an hour. Approximate costs have not been estimated.
Long term: The presentation suggested the board consider a new high school for long-term planning.
The new school could be built on available land behind the intermediate school, and the current high school could be repurposed to accommodate grades six through eight and become the Dover Area Middle School, according to Cherry's presentation.
The plans presented to the board are in their earliest stages, and no action has been taken. A committee is expected to start discussing the plans this month.
— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at email@example.com.