West Jefferson Hills to add trailers at intermediate school to meet growth demands
Jefferson Hills Intermediate School has run out of space.
A high rate of growth in the district has pushed music classes onto the stage and gifted meetings into the hallways.
While district leaders work toward a long-term plan to renovate and add onto the school, for the next few years they’re looking at putting trailers outside the building to house four classrooms.
Board members on Sept. 24 approved a motion that would allow administrators to rent or procure two, two classroom trailers for two years at a cost not to exceed $130,000.
“It’s critical that we get this moving now,” board President Brian Fernandes said. “We are out of room.”
A feasibility study completed two years ago indicated on the high end that Jefferson Hills Intermediate School would have 696 students this year, Superintendent Michael Ghilani said. There are currently 750 students in the third- to fifth-grade building, up from 720 in 2018-19.
“We’ve used every nook and cranny of that building,” Ghilani said.
The biggest problem is finding places to run classes like music, gifted and smaller specials, Ghilani said.
“The principal is doing an amazing job figuring it out,” Fernandes said.
Director of facilities Ryan Snodgrass recommended adding the two, two classroom trailers to increase space. “We’d like to do this quickly,” he said.
Board members discussed where the trailers should be located and if there would be safety concerns placing them in front of the building, or if the trailers could physically get to the rear of the school because of its topography.
District leaders said it would be up to school Principal Chris Very which classes would be held in the trailers, but they want to see as few students impacted as possible.
“We’re going to look at safety, security, fire protection,” Ghilani said. “We want to do the right thing.”
The initial trailers the district looked at have heating and air conditioning in them, along with a shared bathroom, Snodgrass said.
District leaders plan to shop around to find the best rate, Ghilani said.
Jefferson Hills Intermediate School has been on the district leader’s radar as the next project in line for a renovation and expansion.
Board members next month plan to vote on hiring a consultant to provide an updated feasibility study for the district, Ghilani said.
The feasibility study completed two years ago already is out of date, based on the booming growth of the area, the superintendent said.