Although it’s far from a new dilemma, Cumberland Valley School District officials are considering new avenues for tackling burgeoning district enrollment that could include expanding and renovating Eagle View Middle School in the near future.
At Monday night’s school board meeting, board member Robert Walker reported on joint meetings conducted on Aug. 20 and Sept. 4 between the district’s finance and facilities committees. Although several options remain under consideration to accommodate leaping enrollment, both committees brought forth an initial recommendation to expand and renovate the 20-year-old Eagle View building.
Eagle View is located within the district’s main campus in Silver Spring Township, where officials have cited the level as the district’s fastest growing community.
“Our growth is most prevalent at the middle school level. We have a need for additional elementary spaces, but it’s not as pressing as our middle school needs,” said Walker, who serves as chair of the district’s facilities committee.
Superintendent Frederick Withum III said district enrollment is multiplying at record speeds, increasing 3 percent just between the end of the 2017-18 school year and now. On Sept. 17, he cited total student numbers of 9,287.
“All of our numbers indicate that our elementary numbers are going quickly for overcrowding at Eagle View,” Withum noted.
Cumberland Valley officials are pressed to find new solutions for student overcrowding after the district ended its legal battle to exercise eminent domain at the McCormick Farm property in Silver Spring Township in June. Before that, officials said they planned to turn the land into a new middle school campus.
Walker said on Tuesday that the district “needs to continue to find land for expansion, but our first issue is our rising middle school enrollment.” Any decision about elementary school expansions also should come at a later date, he added.
Other options under future consideration in the district include a new elementary school, converting Silver Spring Elementary School into a high school annex, or consolidating Good Hope Middle School.
“Our board has lots of options that they need to vet. The overall process of adding building space takes anywhere from three to five years,” Withum noted.
For now, administrators have no set date in mind for beginning the Eagle View project, but they could present a project scope with price estimates project within the next 60 days or so, Walker said. Renovation costs alone are estimated at around $17 million, but this doesn’t include the additional price of a building expansion.
Also on Monday, the school board awarded a proposal for Monument Digital Signs at Winding Creek Elementary and Mountain View Middle School to W.J. Strickler, New Oxford, for a total of $94,472. The LED signs will be installed outside both schools in spring 2019. Mountain View’s sign will measure 3 feet by 6 feet — not including their brick base — while Winding Creek’s will measure 2 feet by 6 feet.