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West Shore School District moves ahead with $85M overhaul

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch
Concept drawing of Fairview Intermediate School planned by the West Shore School District

The West Shore School District is nearing completion of a new elementary school in Cumberland County, which is part of an $85 million overhaul that will see two new intermediate schools built in York County in the coming years. 

Superintendent Todd Stoltz said in an email that the three new buildings will help improve the delivery of curriculum and reorganize the district's grade levels.

This spring, the district expects to complete its new elementary school, Rossmoyne Elementary, in Lower Allen Township, Stoltz said. Additionally, West Shore is planning to build two intermediate schools for fifth and sixth grade students in York County. 

The plan for the new schools stemmed from reports in 2016 that found several district buildings in poor condition. Six of the district’s 14 school buildings had heating systems more than 30 years old, and seven schools lacked air conditioning.

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A feasibility study done in 2017 concluded that the district needed to reorganize grade levels to improve instruction. One major change officials decided on was removing sixth grade from middle schools, to "better meet student needs and deliver curriculum," Stoltz said. 

Sixth grade students will soon be taught in intermediate schools with fifth graders. Putting fifth grade students in intermediate schools will also allow those students to remain with their classmates in that grade through high school, Stoltz said. In the district's current model, he said many students are separated as they move through elementary, middle and high school.

When the plan is complete, Stoltz said West Shore School District will have seven elementary schools teaching kindergarten through fourth grade, two intermediate schools teaching fifth and sixth grade, two middle schools teaching seventh and eight grade and two high schools teaching ninth through 12th grade. 

Rossmoyne Elementary School will replace the district's existing Lower Allen and Rossmoyne elementary schools, Stoltz said. Initially, he said the school will teach kindergarten through fifth grade while the intermediate schools are in the works. The school will house about 400 students and is projected to cost about $25 million, he said. 

One of the intermediate schools, Fairview Intermediate, will replace the existing Fairview Elementary School in York County, Stoltz said. The second school will be built on a 95-acre plot the district purchased along Valley Road and Beinhower Road near Red Land High School, he said. 

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District officials are still working on moving both intermediate schools through the review and permitting process and have not finalized the design of either school yet, Stoltz said. Neither project has been put out to bid, and Stoltz did not mention a timeline for either project. 

Both intermediate schools are expected to serve between 550 and 650 students, Stoltz said. The projected cost for each school is $30 million. 

The district acquired several bonds to pay for the new schools, Stoltz said, and officials are prepared to seek additional bonds to complete the project.