Friday, February 22, 2008

SDL to renovate most of its schools

According to information presented at a Community Meeting at George Washington Elementary School on the evening of Thursday February 21, the School District of Lancaster plans to spend close to $300 million over the next couple of years for renovations and additions to 16 out of its 21 schools.

The renovations would be paid for with construction bonds, explained SDL Business Manager Matthew Pryzywara and no tax increase would be necessary for the 2007-2008 or 2008-2009 school years, but thereafter there would be a $37.19 tax increase each year until 2014 on an average assessed home value of $118,614.

The renovations at George Washington Elementary School are estimated to cost $15 million and will include a handful of new academic classrooms, multimedia projectors in all classrooms, a new full-size gymnasium, a new kitchen and cafeteria, additional parking, auditorium restoration, interior finishing, elimination of trailers, and installation of new lights, heating, sprinklers, plumbing, and air conditioning, according to DLR, the developer for the project.

The addition to Washington Elementary will add between 25,000 and 30,000 square feet of space, according to DLR's presentation.

Washington Elementary is one of the schools being renovated under "Phase I" of the School District's Capital Improvements projects. Phase I includes the most impoverished schools and will also include the Lafayette, Ross, and Wharton schools.

Approximately 1/4 of the funding for these projects has been secured through state grants with the rest being paid for by the School District.

Acting Superintend Stephen Iovino described the renovations as essential upgrades to keep the schools attractive and competitive.