The Mechanicsburg Area School District is partnering with Upper Allen Township to conduct a series of traffic studies contingent to the township’s conditional approval of the district’s preliminary/final land development plan for site work at Elmwood Academy.
The Mechanicsburg School Board unanimously approved entering a joint agreement with Upper Allen for annual traffic studies relating to the Elmwood site during a virtual meeting last Tuesday night. The district is obligated to conduct traffic studies and/or examinations over a 10-year period.
“The (Elmwood) property is split between Upper Allen Township and Mechanicsburg Borough. The borough oversaw building renovations and some site work. The back part of the school is in Upper Allen Township,” said Jennifer Boyer, Upper Allen’s community development director/planner.
The district’s site work plan for Elmwood was conditionally approved by the Upper Allen Board of Supervisors in January 2018. At that time, the district considered this as the second and final work phase of converting Elmwood from a grade 1-3 facility to a districtwide center for grades 4-5. The first phase, now completed, involved interior renovations.
The district plans to contract a firm for conducting the mandated traffic studies within the next few months, district business manager Greg Longwell said last week. In the meantime, the district awaits approval of a highway occupancy permit, or HOP, from the state Department of Transportation, the township’s final stipulation before the site plan is registered with Cumberland County.
The HOP relates to a second traffic access now in the works behind the Elmwood building leading from Shepherdstown Road. When completed, it will connect the school’s parent traffic loop to Shepardstown Road access.
“Some work on site has been completed within the township’s boundaries. Due to a new (traffic) access onto Shepherdstown Road, the school district could not record the land development plan until a HOP was issued from PennDOT, since Shepherdstown Road is a state-owned road,” Boyer said.
Longwell said the new access entry is expected to be completed this spring.
The district added a third phase to the overall Elmwood project in 2019 involving a rear building addition that will provide additional classroom space and collaborative areas, and an expanded media center. Superintendent Mark Leidy requested a third phase to the overall project in response to updated enrollment figures at that time from DecisionInsite, a data evaluation firm contracted by the district.
The district later decided to make the addition even larger than initially planned in light of further enrollment projections.
Longwell said this week that construction is progressing well on the new rear classroom wing, with the new media center already in place. Elmwood Phase III, as it’s called, is slated for completion this spring.