On Tuesday night, the Mechanicsburg Area School Board unanimously approved new attendance areas for the 2018-19 school year that will affect students in the elementary grades.

During the next five years, the district plans to expand or renovate all of its buildings to accommodate increasing enrollment and changing educational and activity needs. In August, the school board agreed for architects to prepare advertisements for contractor bids for converting Elmwood Elementary School into a district center for grades four and five. The district’s offices on Elmwood’s second floor would be converted into 15 classrooms.

The district has no plans to change the configuration of the Kindergarten Academy, but renovation work and the addition of a classroom wing to accommodate growing enrollment is expected to begin next year. The second floor of the new wing will serve as the new location of the district’s administration offices.

The district’s remaining elementary schools — Broad Street, Northside, Shepardstown and Upper Allen — will switch from their current configurations of grades 1-5 to accommodate grades 1-3 for the 2018-19 school year.

A proposed map of the new attendance zones was presented to the school board in August and put on the district’s website for review. District officials said they devised the proposed zones using criteria of student impact, equity and enrollment.

Assistant Superintendent Alan Vandrew said officials have received “a little bit of feedback” about the new attendance lines over the past several weeks, but, “They seem to be OK with it.”

In a related matter, the school board unanimously ratified a three-year lease with Allen Distribution on South Market Street for a 15,000-square-foot area for $18,793 per month. The rental area will serve as a temporary location for the district’s administration offices in from when renovation work begins at the Elmwood building and new office space is completed at the Kindergarten Academy.

Vandrew said district officials plan to review contractor bids for the Elmwood project this month, with renovations expected to begin in February. School board meetings after that point will no longer take place at the Elmwood building, most likely moving to the middle school or the district’s Environmental Center.

Also on Tuesday, the school board approved replacement of the middle school’s auditorium stage lighting system by Sage Technology Solutions for $88,958.64. The board also accepted a bid to replace the middle school’s auditorium sound system by Sage Technology Solutions for $46,136.12. The 16-year-old systems are original to the building, Vandrew said.

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