District to Rebuild, Relocate Hambright Elementary

This graphic shows what the planned Hambright Elementary school renovations will look like.
This graphic shows what the planned Hambright Elementary school renovations will look like.

By Olivia Hertzler

Anyone who has driven past Hambright Elementary School recently, might have noticed the “for sale” sign in front of the school and wondered why it is there. In order to expand the elementary school, Penn Manor School District plans to rebuild Hambright behind Manor Middle School.

Hambright was built in the 1930s, and although the building itself is fine, the school cannot expand because it is landlocked. The 440 student elementary school is set on a six acre lot, but 15 acres is the recommended amount of land for a school of this size.  To create more space the parking lot or playground would have to be moved.

Central Manor is the only elementary school in the district that can expand if student population increases.

Hambright is located in a very busy area.  Every 20-25 years the school district renovates one of its  schools. Another reason for Hambright’s rebuilding is that the cost of  renovating  the current building was greater than the cost of building a new school.

“We have limitations here and [I am] looking forward to new opportunities at the new building,” said Dr. Egan, the principal at Hambright.

This project’s funds come from both the school budget and municipal bonds, which are issued by the state and will be repaid over a period of 10 years.

In January, the school district plans to find a contractor to build the new school.

“We want the building to be flexible” said Dr. Egan.

The new school will be one floor and will provide the option of four classrooms per grade level. Included in the plans for the new building are three learning labs and large-group, academic commons, which allow large-group activities to take place in one big room.  There will also be outdoor learning spaces between the labs. The stage will be between the cafeteria and the gym so that it can be opened up to an audience on either side.  The district also plans to add a path to connect to the path belonging to the park behind Manor Middle School.

Construction is scheduled to  begin in April. The new Hambright building is scheduled to be completed in September 2014.

Because of the construction timeline, the change in schools will only affect this year’s kindergarten through fourth graders.  In this case, those students will just move to the new school building.

“Hambright’s  boundaries will stay the same same, but some of the grey areas will change. This will take the  pressure off of Central Manor and Eshleman to have so many students,” said Dr. Egan.

The number of students being bussed to school won’t increase by much, because there are currently there are only a few students who walk. Other improvements for students and staff include the addition of air conditioning; the current Hambright building is not air conditioned. The new location will also be convenient for students in  accelerated classes.

Students are looking forward to the new building.

“I’m excited because I can come back and visit, because its close to the middle school”, said Skyler Flint, a sixth grader at Hambright.

“It seems like we need a new school, “ said Teilah Cruz, a Hambright sixth grader who mentioned that she will miss the old building. “I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone has to say about [the new building.”

The old Hambright building is for sale, and more than 12 groups, including churches, businesses and local private schools have been looking at it.