Dis­trict looks to add new K-2 build­ing

Struc­ture would re­place An­tonelli In­sti­tute art school

Springfield Sun - - FRONT PAGE - For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

SPRING­FIELD» If all goes well, Spring­field Town­ship School Dis­trict will have a new home for its grow­ing fam­ily by De­cem­ber 2019.

In early May, dis­trict of­fi­cials pre­sented a sketch plan to the town­ship for a K-2 el­e­men­tary school on Pa­per Mill Road. The new struc­ture, which would re­place the An­tonelli In­sti­tute art school, would in­clude as­so­ci­ated bus ac­cess, a car drop-off area, a park­ing lot and play ar­eas.

The de­ci­sion to build stems in part from a 2013 de­mo­graphic study con­ducted by the Mont­gomery County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion. Analy­ses con­sid­ered stu­dent en­roll­ment and pop­u­la­tion pro­jec­tions within the dis­trict. The study found that the dis­trict’s cur­rent fa­cil­i­ties are un­equipped to deal with the pro­jec­tions, which showed a 25 per­cent in­crease in pop­u­la­tion over the next decade.

MCPC’S find­ings were cor­rob­o­rated by a dis­trictwide fea­si­bil­ity study in Oc­to­ber 2015 by Gil­bert Ar­chi­tects, which con­sid­ered state-driven func­tional ca­pac­ity re­quire­ments. The fea­si­bil­ity study also re­vealed con­sid­er­able safety con­cerns with in­creased ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic at En­field El­e­men­tary, buses lined up along Pa­per Mill Road, and nu­mer­ous in­fra­struc­ture is­sues that needed to be ad­dressed.

As dis­trict of­fi­cials delved into the mat­ter, two op­tions be­gan to sur­face: retro­fit ex­ist­ing struc­tures at an es­ti­mated cost of $23 mil­lion to $26 mil­lion, or con­struct a new build­ing for $32 mil­lion.

“From there, it was a no­brainer,” said Dr. Nancy Hacker, dis­trict su­per­in­ten­dent. “We de­cided that it was much more cost­ef­fec­tive to build a new school which holds three grade lev­els than re­fur­bish an ex­ist­ing build­ing which only houses two grade lev­els.”

Ac­quir­ing enough space for the project was one less con­cern for the dis­trict.

“The site we chose made a sig­nif­i­cant amount of sense,” Hacker said. “We al­ready own the land.

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