JERSEY SHORE - The Jersey Shore Area School Board not only was given updates on an elementary school construction project but also discussed the future of fifth-grade students Monday.
Brian Haines, of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates, presented the board with renditions of how the Jersey Shore Elementary School will look.
He showed drawings of a lobby that would incorporate graphics and windows for a gymnasium that would "flood" it with light.
Haines said the graphics would "make it a little more fun," for the elementary school students.
"We're trying to work in some school colors," Haines said.
As Haines explained, only doors to the school's main entrance would be accessible to visitors. Those visiting the school would be required to go into the office before they are given permission to access the rest of the school.
Besides adding an alternative bid for the bus loop in front of the school, Haines said the project hadn't changed much. The alternative bid would add 25 parking spaces to the property.
A small-group instruction room also was added after adjusting the layout of the school. Haines called it a "minor modification."
Asked if the current plans still will allow the district to close an elementary school, Haines responded, "absolutely."
Board member John Shireman later said he believed the district could close two elementary schools. Shireman's comments came after he discussed moving all district fifth graders to the middle school.
"The two schools you want to look at closing are Nippenose Valley and Salladasburg," he said.
He said although he voted to not close a school earlier this year, he now believes it can be done successfully.
Although Avis Elementary was discussed as being closed previously, Shireman said it would be a "real mistake" to do so.
Superintendent Richard Emery said the district is looking into the move but added that nothing would happen before this school year.
"I'm not saying we could do that this year by any stretch," he said.
Shireman said the district must "look at the future," and should create an extensive plan on direction.
Some members of the public agreed.
"I do have to agree with Mr. Shireman. We do seem to miss a global plan," said Adrienne Stahl, of Limestone Township.
Board President Robert Pryor said the district is working on one and needs time to put it into action, when Stahl asked what its plan was.
Emery said nothing would be done this year but the district is only exploring its options now. Shireman added that the district had done a similar move with sixth-grades students previously and it was successful.