Dallastown Area considers a new elementary school

Alyssa Pressler
  • A committee recommended to the school board that a new school be built in the district.
  • The potential new school would be located at the Loganville-Springfield Elementary site.
  • Superintendent Ron Dyer stressed the district is in very early planning stages.

A study has recommended the Dallastown Area School District move forward with building a new school at the Loganville-Springfield Elementary school site. The recommendation awaits school board approval.

Discussions began in September, 2015, when the school board approved the creation of a facility committee, which was chaired by board Vice President Ronald Blevins. The committee included community members, administrators, teachers, the principal and parents of students who attend the school.

Dallastown Area School District, awaits approval to potentially build a new school at the site of Loganville-Springfield Elementary. Amanda J.Cain photo

Since then, the committee has explored three  options: working on the existing school and adding an addition, an extensive renovation and a major expansion or building a new school altogether. According to a report published on the district's website, the committee found the first option was not viable, but the other two are.

Last May the board  accepted a nonbinding recommendation to construct a new building, after legislation created the Planning and Construction Workbook (PlanCon) Commission.

PlanCon is a program that documents a school district's planning process for construction, provides justification to the public, ensures that districts are in compliance with state laws and establishes a level of reimbursement to the district for the construction. The PlanCon Commission was created to review practices, and it will ultimately make recommendations for improvement.

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The legislation establishing the commission also put a halt to any building projects that were submitted after May 15. For this reason, the district entered into the nonbinding recommendation on May 12. Dyer said the agreement  ensures that if the district does move forward with the school building, they will receive reimbursement. However, it does not guarantee the district will move forward with the option.

The committee  continued to meet to study the finances and feasibility of the three original options  and still found that building a new school would be the strongest recommendation. This recommendation and the report outlining the process were presented to the school board in November.

The report includes pros and cons of each of the three options. Also included was list of "deficiencies" at Loganville-Springfield Elementary, which included a lack of classrooms, roof leaks and inadequate classroom storage.

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In addition, a "summary of considerations" was created for the second and third options, which included things to keep in mind such as temporary housing of students during the school year, the schedule of construction for both options and possible future expansions.

Superintendent Ron Dyer said there is no definite date the school board will decide whether or not to move forward with building a new school, but in order to obtain the reimbursement the school would need to have everything approved, including contractors and budget information, by June 30, 2019.

"We are in very early phases for the board to consider what its options are," Dyer said.