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Residents Wednesday night expressed concern over the possibility of closing Reserve Primary School as one of several options presented in a Shaler Area School District buildings report.

Greer Hayden, of HHSDR Architects/Engineers of Pittsburgh, presented the results of a feasibility study to the school board’s buildings and grounds committee meeting at the Shaler Area Middle School.

The study results showed three possible options for the district’s five primary schools and one elementary building: One suggested renovating all five primary schools, the other closing Reserve Primary and a third closing Reserve and Jeffery primary schools. The last two options would require moving students to the other primary schools -- Burchfield, Marzolf and Rogers.

Often getting emotional, the 50 residents attending Wednesday’s meeting recalled the closing of all the other schools in Reserve, Millvale and Etna over the years, leaving only the primary school. Several spoke about the need for a neighborhood school and the long bus rides that would result for young children to attend one of the other primary schools. Others were concerned about the effect on property values of closing the only neighborhood school while others worried about the cost of renovating the other schools and how it would impact taxes.

Mr. Hayden, of HHSDR, explained the long process of a building project, saying it could take years to complete any work.

“If any closings are determined,” he said, “there would be a public hearing followed by a wait period.”

 

The other options include:

■ Renovate the five primary centers and one elementary school.

■ Close Reserve Primary and transfer students to Marzolf Primary Center. Close Jeffery Primary and split the population between Rogers and Burchfield primaries. Renovate Rogers, Marzolf, Burchfield and Shaler Area Elementary.

■ Close Jeffery and Rogers and renovate Reserve, Marzolf, Burchfield and Shaler Elementary School.

■ Close Rogers, Jeffery and Reserve. Renovate Marzolf and Burchfield into kindergarten through second grade primary schools and the elementary into a school for grades 3-5. The middle school would become grades 6-8 instead of its current 7 and 8. This is the only option that would make changes at the middle school.

The goal of the study was to have the experts from the company evaluate building conditions and provide options for reconfiguring the district's primary and elementary schools.


First Published August 28, 2014 9:35 AM

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