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The Mechanicsburg School Board tackled a full meeting agenda last week, which included proposals to initiate designs for a third construction phase at Elmwood Academy, converting boys’ volleyball into a school-sponsored sport, and approving a new contract for Superintendent Mark Leidy.

The school board approved a new five-year contract for Leidy. The new contract is effective July 1 with a starting yearly salary of $175,000, an increase from his current salary of $172,695. Future salary increases will be based on results of annual performance evaluations, according to district business administrator Greg Longwell.

Leidy has served as Mechanicsburg’s superintendent since 2010. He previously worked in the district as high school principal and assistant superintendent for academics, according to the district’s website. Before coming to Mechanicsburg, Leidy taught science, coached baseball and football, and served as an administrator in the Chambersburg Area and Fannett-Metal school districts.

The school board also agreed to authorize district architects to design an unexpected third construction phase at Elmwood Academy that would add a classroom wing to the district’s grade 4-5 center. Leidy introduced the proposal to board members last month, saying an enrollment peak at Elmwood “is coming is faster than we originally thought.”

DecisionInsite, the district’s contracted data firm, now predicts that the school’s enrollment will rise sharply each year from just under 700 students now to 831 by 2021-22. After that, student numbers are predicted to decline at Elmwood but won’t return to current levels.

The newest construction proposal follows two recent projects at Elmwood. In 2018, interior renovations transformed the building from its previous status as a school for grades 1-5 to its current use as a district center for grades 4-5.

Also last year, exterior site work began at Elmwood to relocate the school’s parent drop-off area to the rear of the building and convert the front area to a drop-off area for buses only. A new drive loop for parents dropping off students runs one-way from a Shepherdstown Road entrance behind the school to a rear building exit. The building’s front entrance area also was cleaned and coated and building letters were installed.

Contract workers are putting final touches on school landscaping and completing Shepherdstown Road improvements with a final paving course at Elmwood.

Also on April 9, the board agreed to add the boys’ volleyball team to the district’s roster of school-sponsored sports after hearing a request last month from district athletic director Seth Pehanich. The team qualifies for this because it meets the criteria of school-sponsored sports as listed in the district’s policy, Pehanich said.

The district’s stated net cost for adding boys’ volleyball as a sponsored sport is $13,511 with a net 10 percent contribution from the Booster Club. Until now, the program has been fully funded by the Booster Club, including the purchase of new uniforms this year. The team formed six years ago and maintains junior varsity and varsity programs, Pehanich said.

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