Southern Fulton Ponders Future Facilities
Considering themselves midway through the feasibility study process, three officials from Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates sat down with the Southern Fulton School Board last week to share a tentative draft of their findings that were gathered through onsite facility tours and discussions with a 20-member study panel.
Harry Pettoni, senior project manager, kicked off the presentation on September 21 with an update on where the company stands with the completion of the study; a schedule of where the study is headed; future enrollment projections; and future steps.
According to Pettoni, who was accompanied by Rich Quinn and Dr. David Stricker, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates (CRA) has been actively engaged in the study since July. As the process continues, the firm is slated to delve more deeply into planning and cost options. A final study will be released to the board and general public in November.
Along the way, additional discussions are slated to take place with the district’s study panel currently comprised of board member Pat Bard, Superintendent Kendra Trail, principals Meredith Hendershot and Theresa Corle, special education supervisor Diane Younker, second-grade teacher Terry Shade, reading teacher Rodney Leese, building and grounds supervisor Michael Shaw, Anna Thompson, Carole Zirkle, Anna Maye Sigel, Donna Beale, Kelly Ward, Karlin Lynch, David Smith, Aaron Meredith, Ed Layton and the three CRA representatives.
Pettoni went on to say both the elementary and high school facilities have been documented and reviewed by engineers, who are completing an analysis on structure and mechanics. The district’s technology has also been analyzed. Furthermore, the district’s staff members have been asked to comment on programs, space, inadequacies, suggestions on additional space needed and general comments.
In reviewing projections based on live birth rates, the Pennsylvania Department of Education is anticipating an increase of 81 students or jump of 18 percent in five years, Dr. Stricker reported. At 10 years, the increase in student body is projected to rise by 246 students, or 50 percent.
Stricker added other sources, such as the Center for Rural Pennsylvania and the U.S. Census Bureau, are also being utilized by CRA to help determine how much of an increase or decrease the district could see in future enrollment numbers.
Another consideration taken into advisement by CRA is the number of special education students, which has risen over the last 10 years from 84 to its current level of 153.
In outlining what renovation or construction options have been considered to date by CRA, Quinn said the first option “would be to do nothing and keep rolling along.” The second option presented by Quinn would include items such as HVAC upgrades as well as electronic and interior changes at both facilities. The remaining four options reviewed last Tuesday spanned a variety of ideas, such as an addition at the elementary to accommodate potential growth, renovations and additions to the district office, an addition at the high school to accommodate vocational technical programs, better utilization of existing space and separation of seventh- and eighthgrade students.
In giving further discussion to the current state of vocationaltechnical programs offered in county, Stricker said all three county superintendents are looking at various options. However, CRA will continue to review the regional job outlook when considering space for existing curriculum and possible additions to vocational technical classes.
Pettoni concluded the next step for CRA will be looking at options for the original Warfordsburg elementary school; develop a budget for each option; and complete the draft of the study.
The next meeting of the district’s study team is set for October 21.