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Construction could begin this fall for a new freestanding athletics activity center at Mechaniscburg Area Senior High School.

The Mechanicsburg Area School Board approved contracts totaling $4,511,672 Tuesday night for a Wildcat Activity Center that will be built directly along side Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School.

The 15,000-square-foot activity center will be located behind the high school where basketball courts currently sit along the school’s rear driveway and next to a track. The facility would include a main gymnasium, an auxiliary gym, additional sports locker rooms, equipment storage areas, a concession stand, and a lobby with restrooms that would accommodate outside events at the school.

The high school currently features one auxiliary gym and faces storage space issues as well as space for indoor athletic practices. A PowerPoint presentation about the facility on the school district’s website said the facility could also be used for recreation programs like yoga and youth basketball.

“The (district) feasibility study that was conducted two years ago indicated that the district needed indoor recreation/athletic space. We’ve added many new recreation/athletic programs and have not added any additional space,” Assistant Superintendent Alan Vandrew said on Wednesday. Although the center would be open to all district students, Vandrew said it most likely will be used mainly by high school students.

“We needed more activity space,” Vandrew said.

The project will be funded entirely through school district funds without borrowing from outside sources, Vandrew said.

Construction is expected to begin within the next month or so pending review by Mechanicsburg Borough officials and the Cumberland County Conservation District and could be finished by July 2019. Mechanicsburg Borough Council is scheduled to vote on the project’s land development plan on Sept. 18.

In October 2017, the school board authorized architects Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates to design an activity center that would annex the high school to accommodate the district’s growing enrollment and expanding extracurricular programs.

The school board approved these contracts Tuesday totaling $4,511,672:

General construction — ECI Construction, $3,584,000.

HVAC — North Bay Mechanical LLC, $355,000.

Plumbing — Mann, $172,900.

Electrical — McCarty & Sons Inc., $399,772.

Other projects

Also on Tuesday, the school board agreed for the district to purchase a property at 503 S. Filbert St. from Richard E. and Karen L. Simmons for $145,000. The property is adjacent to the Kindergarten Academy. Superintendent Mark Leidy said the district has no immediate plans for the land, but it is intended to accommodate future growth.

The school board also authorized the district on Tuesday to submit paperwork to the state Department of Education outlining project accounting and designs for planned renovations and expansions at Shepherdstown Elementary School and Upper Allen Elementary School. After state approval, the district plans to advertise for construction contractor bids in January 2019, followed by possible board approval in February and construction for both projects beginning in the spring.

At Upper Allen, the district plans to renovate 42,660 square feet of the existing 49,725-square-foot building and demolish the remainder of the structure. The original structure was built in 1965, with an addition constructed in 2004.

Shepherdstown’s interior plans involve renovating 18,130 square feet of the 30,638-square-foot existing building and removing other portions. Plans for a 45,566-square-foot addition would give the school 63,696 square feet, more than twice what it is today. The original building was constructed in 1951.


Several district staff members were recognized on Tuesday with the district’s annual Outstanding Staff Awards. Awardees for 2017-18 were:

Regular assignment, administrative category — Julie Huff, assistant superintendent for academics.

Regular assignment, elementary category — Clinton Montoro, fifth-grade teacher, Northside Elementary School.

Regular assignment, middle school category — Katharine George-Awau, school counselor.

Regular assignment, high school category — Allison Whitman, social studies teacher.

Extra assignment, elementary category — Julia Young, second-grade teacher; Tammy Strayer, first-grade teacher; Hilary Reath, fifth-grade teacher, for Elmwood Girls on the Run.

Extra assignment, middle school category — Kimberly Kerchner, administrative assistant to the principal, for Martin Luther King Day, Gabby’s Random Acts of Kindness, food pantry, stuffed animal drive, MMS yearbook co-chair.

Extra assignment, high school category — Jason Minnich, health and physical education teacher, for work with Wellness Committee, Fly Fishing Club, MASH Mountain Bike Trail, MASH Ski Club.

Instructional support category — Barbara Bushey, special education instructional assistant, Elmwood Elementary School.

Noninstructional support category — Denise Stroh, administrative assistant to the principal, Broad Street Elementary School.

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