York City's Smith Middle School building might reopen

Alyssa Pressler
  • The school board will vote Wednesday, Jan. 18, on the possible future of Smith school, which closed in 2012.
  • The school might be used as a regular K-8 building or as a STEAM center.

The York City school board will vote at Wednesday's meeting on whether to notify the state about the possible reopening of the former Edgar Fahs Smith Middle School.

The vote will not determine if the school will definitely be reopened or when. District spokeswoman Erin James explained districts are required to notify the state any time a school is opened or closed. If the board votes to notify the state, the school could be opened as early as the 2017-18 school year, but nothing definite has been decided.

The York City School District Superintendent announced a proposal to re-open the Edgar Fahs Smith School building, pictured, to be a modified STEM academy. Amanda J. Cain photo

Basically, the board would just be voting to reserve the option of reopening the school. It's not clear yet what the district would use the building for if it did unshutter it.

"It's not a vote to open or not to open; it's about going to the state and saying 'Hey, we might,'" James said.

The school closed in 2012 along with Hannah Penn Middle School because of declining enrollment in the district and financial troubles. Hannah Penn eventually reopened as a K-8 school. Currently, part of the Smith building houses the York Family Literacy Program.

Family literacy program moves to Smith Middle School

What the Smith school would reopen as is undetermined. In the past, Superintendent Eric Holmes has discussed expanding the district's science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics program to the building, and he said a proposal for that expansion would be presented to the school board in the spring. The district's STEAM program is housed in the Ferguson K-8 building.

Gov. Wolf visits Ferguson K-8 STEAM classes

James said if the board votes to move forward with notifying the state Wednesday evening, discussions about what the building could be used for will begin.

The district is exploring the option not only for a possible STEAM academy but also because student enrollment has gone up in recent years. The district is anticipating another jump in enrollment for the 2017-18 school year.

The board meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Board meetings are held in the administrative building at 31 N. Pershing Ave. and are open to the public.