Skip to main content

School Board Discusses Plans for the Middle School

This weekend's Phoenix talked about plans the school board is considering with regards to the Phoenixville Area Middle School. The article highlights three alternatives that are up for consideration. They are:
  1. Continue to patch problems as they arise. Cost for this is approximately $250,000-$300,000 a year and will only buy the district a couple of years and doesn't address some of the glaring needs of the district with regards to expanding the middle school.
  2. Renovate and add new spaces to the exisiting structure. Cost for this would be approximately $23 million with estimated ongoing expenses for things like maintenance and upkeep priced at $310k per year. This would extend the life of the middle school considerably but not to the extent that a new building would.
  3. Build a completely new building. Cost would be approximately $50 million. Conveniently, no mention was made with regards to yearly upkeep expenses. Lets assume, for the sake of argument, that this # is something less than the $310k quoted for the annual cost if they renovated.

According to the article, the renovation plan has been taken off the table. The board commented that:
“Schools are finding that doing it piecemeal with a lot of labor is too costly,” Gilbert said. “At the end, you have a patchwork quilt. And a patchwork quilt will always look like a patchwork quilt.”

While I am not going to argue that building onto an existing structure often leads to a bit of a patchwork look, I don't buy the cost arguments, at least based on the #'s presented. By going the route of the renovation, we (as a district) would be saving $27M up front. Even if there were no ongoing costs for a new facility (which won't be the case), it would take 87 years at $310k/year for the renovation to become a losing alternative.

Of course, a renovated Middle School won't last as long as a new building, but with the current economic situation our district finds itself in, I think it would be prudent to give that option some serious consideration.


Anonymous said…
I graduated in 1990 and the Junior High....I mean Middle School... needed major work then. This community truly needs an upgrade in its schools and it has to begin now. If this is not done, then no one will wnt to raise their children in the community. Take a lesson from the patchwork job done on the High School and build something new
Anonymous said…
To Anon 1/13, 8:47:

That argument has been used by the current Board to continue to build, build, build which has done nothing but raise, raise, raise our taxes.

Look at the private schools Phoenixville parents are sending their kids to: Malvern Prep, Kimberton Waldorf, Hill School, etc. Those parents are never going to send their kids to a public school, so we shouldn't waste taxpayer money to "woo" them.

Supposedly, the economic stimulus package is going to have some serious money in it for renovating schools, especially for energy efficiency. Besides the tax savings and saving Meadowbrook Golf Course, if we renovate, we'll be able to access those dollars also and have a school that saves on fuel costs in the future.

A good architect can make a renovation look good. Let's spend the money on good design and keep what we have, rather than adding to the local tax burden to fund grandiose building schemes.
Anonymous said…
It would also help if the problems that arose in the school buildings were fixed in a timely manner. When I went to school there, there would be problems that would last for days. I'm sure these problems over time lead/led to more problems. If they would actually fix things when they happen, I'm sure the cost wouldn't be 300,000 a year. Unless they operate on one of those government type budgets where a hammer costs $500
Anonymous said…
Parents send their kids to those private schools because our schools are lacking (to say the least). Don't let those that attend public schools suffer because some small percentage decide to send their kids to private schools. I am not asking for grandiose building schemes, just something that looks and functions like it wasn't built 50 yrs ago.
Anonymous said…
I think we should look at the success of the new Schuylkill School. It is a fantastic facility and i know that parents who see a great local, public shcool will take advantage of the option. One of the reasons many people use private shcools in the area is because of the state of the current middle and high schools. We need to invest in the future of our town, not be short sighted and place bandaids on the holes.
Invest in a new middle school and the whole community will benefit.
Anonymous said…
What I find sad is how one school board member sent at least one of her children to a private school, rather than to Phoenixville, a school district which she is supposed to support and help run.
Anonymous said…
I think the new Schuylkill building looks fantastic, but the plan for the building, and supposedly the funding, wasn't thought through well enough. The building took much longer to complete b/c the cost of building it rose and they didn't have the funds available right away to finish. The population of the school is also already outgroing the building. I believe that with the population expanding in the PASD, they will need to build a lot more space than is necessary at the moment. If they are going to spend all this money on a new building look to your future needs (10-20+ years) down the road and don't build for the here and now.

Popular posts from this blog

Public meeting to discuss future of Melchiorre Park scheduled for Nov. 29th

On Thursday, November 29th, the Borough is holding a 'brainstorming session' in which plans for Melchiorre Park will be discussed with its park planning consultants. The event will be held at the High School and will begin 7pm. For those of you who do not know about Melchiorre Park (of which I am included, even though I apparently live across the street from it), it is a 23 acre park located south of High Street on the land between it and French Creek. It appears, based on the drawing on the Borough home page , to be the land that is next to Westridge Village and across the street from the new Northridge Village community. As part of the meeting, the consultants will 'provide a brief background of the project and present a pre-final master plan for the park'. Source: Phoenixville Borough Website

Relay for Life Kick Off Celebration Planned for Nov. 27th

On Tuesday, November 27th, the Relay For Life of Phoenixville will be holding a kick off celebration for the '08 event. The celebration will be held at the Phoenixville High School Cafeteria (1200 Gay St) and will begin at 6:30pm. This year's celebration will feature the following: Meet this year's Co-Chairs and see the passing of the torch Hear from this year's Honorary Survivor Luminaria Ceremony: Celebrate the lives of those who have fought bravely, but have lost their battle Musical selections by The High School's Select Choir & the Guitar Club Spanish Immersion students will read poetry in both Spanish & English Raffle Fighting March & Line Dance by the High School Marching Band Also, for those who are interested in being a part of the '08 Relay, banking & team registration tables will be open from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m., and again after the ceremony. This year's relay will be held on May 2 & 3, 2008 from 6:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. As in th

Local Baker Wins on Netflix Sugar Rush

Peri Anderson, owner of Brooklyn Girl Bakery , was part of a team that won the most recent episode of Sugar Rush on Netflix. I reached out to Peri to learn a little more about her bakery: I started out taking a recreational cake decorating class with my mom when I was still living in NY. I loved it and moved to PA to be with my boyfriend (now husband), where I began interning for a bakery in Chestnut Hill. Over the course of 7 years I worked my way up from intern to pastry chef until I decided to leave in 2012. I do all of my baking in our home kitchen which is licensed and insured by the Dept. of Agriculture. Initially, I wanted to focus on wedding cakes so I immediately started contacting wedding venues in the area to see if they would include me a wedding cake vendor in their packages. I currently work with over 10 venues and several caterers in the area. While wedding cakes are my main focus, I also make cakes and cookie favors for all occasions. While I don’t have a retail loca