‘Dosh superintendent wants to close grade school

By Jim McCabe on March 20 at 7:06am

Officials with the Meredosia-Chambersburg School District are rolling out a plan to close the district’s elementary school.

A public information meeting will be held to discuss a school campus realignment plan that would house students in one facility. The meeting will be held at the gymnasium of Meredosia-Chambersburg High School and be hosted by Superintendent Ron Gilbert and members of the board of education.

Currently the junior-senior high school sits on a drive off of Route 104 in Meredosia; the elementary building is a quarter-mile west on Main Street. Gilbert says the goal is to create a better environment for elementary school students.

“An environment that’s modern, adapted to the learning needs of today, including technology, and using all of the innovations of educational strategies to get your kids a better education learning environment,” he says. “And a structurally better and safer campus. Our elementary sits, like, 20 feet off of our main highway. This would also give us better security.”

Gilbert says the plan explained to the public will focus on what specifically will be renovated and the cost savings it’s supposed to generate.

He says the three-story elementary building is over 100 years old and is not worth renovating and bringing up to code, financially speaking.

A member of the architect group Pro-One Design out of Quincy will also attend. Gilbert says the school district is looking at renovation, not adding on.

“We’re looking at creating a one-floor-level plan for elementary students: a middle school wing and also a high school wing. We really don’t have to add any rooms. What we have to do is take some of the larger rooms and add partitions and create classrooms that are more substantiated with the class size and the number of students that we have currently in our district,” says Gilbert.

“We do have room for expansion if enrollment and things like that ever increase over time, but right at the moment, it’s more of a renovation plan of the existing facility.”

Gilbert adds that everything would be more streamlined for administration and staff with the proposed consolidation.

The school board will take input received from the public during the March 27th public information session and make a decision at a special school board meeting on April 2nd. Both events are at 7 p.m.

Meredosia-Chambersburg currently has 233 students total, with 60 in the high school, 86 in the middle school and 106 students in the elementary building.