On Monday, July 8, the Boyertown Area School District’s requested a waiver for a proposed land expansion—a request which was denied by the Boyertown Borough Council.
Dave Szablowski, business administrator of the Boyertown Area School District, came to the Borough Council to request a waiver for a proposed land expansion of their senior high school. The school board requested the waiver so they can proceed with the construction without having to report to the borough as much as they would have to do with Colebrookdale Township. Without having to report to both municipalities the project would get done quicker.
The proposed renovation resides on two different municipalities. The land expansion rests on a part of both the Borough of Boyertown and Colebrookdale Township. The wavier would have made it easier for the renovations to continue because the construction would only be monitored by one municipality.
This created a problem for some members of the counil. One concern is the potential conflicts of interest that may arise between the two municipalities.
Szablowski brought with him multiple architects to talk to the board about the renovations that the school district wants to make. The expansion would involve adding classrooms and other rooms to the high school. The land expansion would involve getting rid of some of the older buildings.
The rejection of the waiver did not come as much of a surprise as the Boyertown Planning Commission rejected the proposal at their last meeting. The planning commission also recommended that the council should also reject the waiver. The board voted unanimously to reject the waiver.
One problem that the council had with the school district’s proposal was that the construction would cause parking and traffic trouble around the school. The school district presented different ideas to alleviate those problems, stating they would first add new parking spaces to account for the lost parking. The construction will also involve adding a new road for the construction vehicles to use, in order to alleviate any additional trafic. The board was not sure that these ideas would resolve all of the worries that they had.
Council President Frank Deery’s biggest concern wastraffic.
“There’s no way that I want to give approval to a plan without knowing that there is going to be something addressing traffic out of town,” said Deery.
Another problem that the board had with the proposal was the future use of the older school building. That building will be used as classroom space during the construction. The future use of the building has not yet been decided on by the school district. The board is worried that the older buildings will be destroyed or sold after the expansion is finished.
The council wants some sort of confirmation that the building will stay in the school district.
Several area residents stated their concerns to the council after the district’s presentation. One resident had the same concern over the future use of the older building.
“If they can use the old building during the construction why can’t the use it for good?” said Jeannette Mock, during the public comments period.
These renovations are still early in the process. The school district will need to gather more information before the council will change their decision. The school district will have to show that the traffic study that they are developing is reliable. Keep a close eye on future announcements regarding the topic.