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South Side feasibility study unveiled

A feasibility study for a $29.5 million building and facilities renovation plan in the South Williamsport Area School District to consolidate education into two school buildings was unveiled to the public at this week’s school board meeting.

Part of the plan may include closing Rommelt Elementary School, which enrolls fifth and sixth grade students, and moving those students into either the junior/senior high school or to Central Elementary School.

Officials with McKissick Architecture, the Harrisburg firm designing the project, were on hand to discuss the plan and answer questions.

The project is expected to take at least four years to complete.

Plans could also involve construction of a new football stadium at the site of the practice field and upgrading athletic fields.

Twenty-first century educational curriculums with increased emphasis on technology demand more state-of-the art and improved facilities and consolidating students into two buildings only makes sense, said Vern McKissick, of McKissick Architecture.

McKissick noted that since the 1999-2000 school year, enrollment has fallen from 1,577 to 1,282 students.

“Buildings are aging and in need of systemic remediation,” he said.

Trina Gribble, director of operations for McKissick, said the plan involves converting some existing rooms for other uses.

Among the changes would be relocating the district office from Rommelt into the high school.

District Superintendent Dr. Mark Stamm said the plan could create a very condensed and appealing campus concept for the district.

The board held off on a vote on the feasibility project after some board members and residents said they needed more time to consider the plan.

“I think this is a lot of information,” board member Erica Molina said. “I think there are a lot of questions.”

After some discussion, it was agreed to further consider the project at a board session in December.

In personnel matters, the board approved the hiring of Steven Sennett as assistant baseball coach at a stipend of $2,507.

The following people were hired as ticket sellers, ticket takers and to perform other duties at a rate of between $25 and $35 per game for the winter sports season: Nancy Bieber, Steve Bieber, Stacie Bieber, Karen Geise, Fran Kropp, Christy Pinkerton, Jaimee Kopp, Susan Albert, Jean Lowery, Justin Marnon, Natasha Marnon, Tom Marnon, Mark Watts and Terry Kopp.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, for its annual reorganization meeting.

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