Moon Area contends with vacant elementary school spaces
When the Moon Area School Board voted in 2008 to move fifth-graders from the district's five elementary schools to the middle school, they “kicked the can down the road,” said school board member Jeffrey Bussard, who voted against the measure.
With fifth-graders in their second year at the middle school, the district is at a point where it must deal with the issues of vacant elementary school classrooms and needed renovations at those buildings.
On Monday, nearly 100 residents of Moon and Crescent turned out to give the school board and Moon Area administrators ideas on what should be done with the elementary schools. Rob Pillar of Stantec Architects gave several options, with projected costs:
• Maintain all five elementary schools, at a cost of $34.7 million to renovate Allard and Hyde and upgrade Brooks' utility systems, with a $1.67 million increase in the district's budget. Allard, built in 1968, and Hyde, built in 1971, never have been renovated. Brooks was built in 1965 as the Western Hills School and renovated in 1995.
• Close Allard, Hyde and Brooks elementary schools, keeping only Bon Meade and McCormick open and adding on to both with renovations to McCormick. The cost would be $22.8 million, but the district's budget could drop by $348,000 with fewer buildings to run.
• Close Allard and Brooks and keep Bon Meade, McCormick and Hyde at a cost of $17.2 million for renovations to additions to McCormick and Hyde. The budget savings could be $576,291. Pillar explained that Hyde's advantages over Allard are more land for expansion and gas service. Allard is all-electric.
• Keep open Bon Meade, Brooks and McCormick, at a cost of $20.6 million for renovations to Brooks and additions and renovations to McCormick. This option would mean closing Allard and Hyde, and a $331,000 budget decrease.
• Close Allard, at a cost of $26 million for renovations to Hyde and Brooks, resulting in a $574,000 budget increase.
• Close only Brooks and sell it, at a cost of $24.2 million for renovations to Allard, renovations and additions to Hyde, and additions to McCormick. This move would mean a budget increase of $415,000 annually.
After Pillar gave the scenarios, people broke into groups to brainstorm cost-effective ways to use classroom space better, and talk about possible school consolidations and the best use of any money saved through improved efficiency.
“The district hasn't even tried to redistrict,” said Moon resident Jennifer Broderick, whose children once attended Allard, a suggestion several groups made.
Mike Baker of Moon, who questioned Stantec's figures, said children would spend more time than necessary on buses if schools were closed.
Beth Feather of Moon suggested renting space to community groups.
Residents suggested using empty rooms for laboratories or expanding libraries. They expressed concerns about increased class sizes and decreases in property values in neighborhoods that no longer would have an elementary school.
Sandra Fischione Donovan is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.