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No name yet for new McKeesport school

| Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, 7:11 a.m.

As McKeesport Area School District moves forward with realignment and redistricting plans, its new primary/intermediate school remains unnamed.

The school board's decision to table action on naming the school was met with boos and sighs of disappointment Wednesday night.

“I hear the oohs and aahs,” Superintendent Timothy Gabauer said. “It's come so close from maybe 100-and-so names ... This is a name that's going to be on that building for many years to come. (The board) would rather take two weeks and get it right than come up with something and not be satisfied.”

A special meeting is scheduled for March 12 at 6 p.m. in the Francis McClure Intermediate School auditorium. An open-agenda meeting will be at 7:30 at the same location.

In 7-0 votes, the board approved the realignment of kindergarten though sixth grade, with kindergarten through fifth grade divided between the new school and Francis McClure, and sixth-graders moved to Founders Hall Middle School.

Board vice president Joe Lopretto and director Mark Holtzman were absent.

“This was presented last week,” Gabauer said of the realignment. “One of the steps in the process is to determine who (by neighborhood) will go to which school as we move into two primary and two intermediate schools that will be opening for next school year.”

Francis McClure Primary/Intermediate School and the new McKeesport primary/intermediate school, located on the former Cornell site, will divide its students in kindergarten through second grade and third through fifth grades.

While the new McKeesport school will not be complete in August, its students will be temporarily attend classes at the Centennial (kindergarten through second grade) and George Washington (third through fifth grade) buildings. Students will move to the new building in January.

It will include students from McKeesport's Sixth and Seventh (George Washington to Centennial), Ninth (Grandview), Tenth (Upper and Lower divided by W. Fifth Ave.) and Eleventh (Christy Park) wards, and Dravosburg and Versailles.

By August, Francis McClure Primary/Intermediate School will be open as planned in White Oak, fully functioning with students from McKeesport's Second (downtown), Third (Walnut to Cornell streets), Fourth and Fifth (downtown through the millsite), Eighth (Fawcett Plan) and Twelfth (Haler Heights) wards, and White Oak and South Versailles Township.

On the sixth-grade level, which was part of the intermediate program, students will attend a new academy wing at Founders Hall Middle School. During construction, sixth-graders will spend the entire 2013-14 academic year in the White Oak Elementary building and the 2014-15 sixth-graders will be the first to use the new academy.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or jvertullo@tribweb.com.

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