Tuesday, April 20, 2010

E-town Area SD receives conditional approval for East High Street plans

Elizabethtown Borough Council granted conditional approval to the Elizabethtown Area School District for its plans to expand East High Street Elementary School and other improvements to the campus and sports fields on East High Street.

School district Superintendent Amy Slamp and other representatives presented the plans in a conditional use hearing to Borough Council on April 15. The hearing was the first step in the approval process for constructing the addition at the elementary school. The district will need to seek additional approvals from the zoning hearing board and Borough Council after submitting a land development plan.

Under the borough's zoning ordinance, applicants who submit plans to expand their facilities by more than 10,000 square feet must have a conditional use hearing before Borough Council. During the hearings, the applicants and the borough administrative staff present testimony is a quasi-judicial hearing. If council approves of plans, it can impose conditions.

In the case of EASD, council approved the application with a list of 31 conditions.

Slamp told Council that the district needs to expand East High Elementary because of overcrowding in the district. The construction of Bear Creek Intermediate School, underway on the EASD campus but situated in nearby Mount Joy Township, will move 900 students in fourth, fifth and sixth grades there when it opens for the 2011-12 school year.

"It gives us elbow room and space to grow," Slamp told council in March when she went over the district's plans informally.

The East High Street Elementary School addition will include a gym, computer rooms, an art room and small group space. The district plans to complete the addition and then remodel the rest of the school by wing, moving students from one wing into the addition until work is done and then moving the back.

In addition to the new construction, the school district has plans to renovate the athletic fields, including the the football stadium and the field hockey field, from the high school all the way to the Elizabethtown Fairgrounds (which the district owns). Slamp said the district does not want to burden taxpayers with the expense of work on the athletic facilities and will be seeking funding through grants and fundraising.

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