Public hearing scheduled to permanently close Birdsboro Elementary Center

Birdsboro Elementary Center is scheduled to close in 2018 because of declining enrollment in the Daniel Boone Area School District.
Birdsboro Elementary Center is scheduled to close in 2018 because of declining enrollment in the Daniel Boone Area School District. Digital First Media File Photo
A public hearing will be held on April 6 on plans to close the Birdsboro Elementary Center.
A public hearing will be held on April 6 on plans to close the Birdsboro Elementary Center. Digital First Media File Photo

AMITY >> The Daniel Boone Area School Board is taking the next step to permanently close the Birdsboro Elementary Center in 2018.

Board members will vote on Feb. 27 to schedule a public hearing on April 6 on the closure plan.

The state Department of Education requires that the district provide 15 days notice (beginning on March 20) of a public hearing on the board’s motion to permanently close a public school building.

Board members have cited districtwide declining elementary enrollment, as well as Birdsboro Elementary Center’s $1.7 million of capital needs over the next 10 years.

Advertisement

All elementary grades would be located in the Amity Elementary and Monocacy Elementary buildings by the 2018-19 school year.

The plan to group all grades into two elementary buildings was presented to the district last April as “Dialogue 2,” by James R. Thompson, of Thompson Associates Architects & Planners, Harrisburg.

It was also presented by district Superintendent James P. Harris, who said it was coincidental that the administration and Thompson developed the same plan.

“This is the administration’s presentation to the board,” said Harris last April, adding, “We’re putting together a plan that most effectively uses our resources.”

Thompson said the grade reconfiguration allows Monocacy Elementary Center — geared toward kindergarten — to accommodate the new, at-risk kindergarten program, as well as the expansion of early childhood education at Amity Elementary Center and Monocacy Elementary Center.

Harris proposed last month that Birdsboro Elementary Center be used in 2018-19 as an early childhood center, a Reading Hospital medical clinic, community resource center, and to house the district’s administrative offices.

Thompson estimated in his Facility Study/Elementary Consolidation, that $13 million of repairs will be needed at the district’s elementary buildings over the next 10 years.

He said Birdsboro Elementary Center’s capital needs are estimated at $400,000 over the next two to five yeas, and an additional $3.2 million in six to 10 years.

Current capital needs are new door and hardware replacement, mechanical and electrical upgrades, masonry restoration, paving repairs and replacement, and casework repairs and replacement.

Built in 1989, the building is in “good to fair condition.”

Amity Elementary Center, built in 2002 is in good to excellent condition and will require $1.3 million in two to five years to replace the roof, mechanical replacements, and masonry restoration.

An additional $400,000 of repairs would be needed in six to 10 years.

Monocacy Elementary Center, built in 2007, is in excellent condition and will require $100,000 of work in two to five years, and another $100,000 in six to 10 years to restore and clean the masonry and repair the walkways and paving.

The board toured the Monocacy Elementary Center building on Feb. 13, prior to its Committee of the Whole meeting.

Birdsboro Borough Manager Aaron Durso asked the board at its Jan. 23 meeting, to consider closing Monocacy Elementary Center instead of the Birdsboro Elementary Center in 2018.

“No one talks about unloading Monocacy Elementary Center,” said Durso, adding, “Don’t you think Monocacy Elementary Center would be good getting on and off Route 422 for [as a] Reading Hospital medical clinic?”

Board member Carol Beitz said the board had previously considered obtaining a real estate appraisal of Monocacy Elementary Center, in order to determine its market value.

No such motion was made by the board at its Feb. 13 meeting.