District planning high school renovations

By Brooke Swinehart

Penn Manor High School was built in 1958, and renovations could start as early as summer of 2019. The most recent renovations were completed in 1996. The Penn Manor administration is currently discussing options for the proposed renovations.

There are a number of systems in the current building that need to be updated.

“[We need] to reinforce steel support. The bathrooms have the original floors from 1958. The toilet fixtures are the original ones also from 1958. The pipes are also leaking. In the cafeteria the chillers and transfers need refurbished which would take a renovation to do,” said district superintendent Dr. Michael G. Leichliter.

Many students will be familiar with the hot and cold temperatures throughout the building. The old systems mean that administrators don’t have the most up-to-date options for heating and cooling.

“It was cold in the morning and warmer in the afternoon with these old motors either run at 100% or 0. But current technology is that you could run these at 40%,” said Dr. Leichliter.

The administration is also considering any additional problems that might lie ahead.

“We have many systems in the current building that are failing or starting to fail. And obviously when you do something this size you need to be ahead of the curve of what could be failing in the coming years,” said the business manager Chris Johnston.

Another issue to be addressed is the student and staff driving situations.

“There shouldn’t be cars traveling where the buses park for obvious safety reasons,”  said Dr. Leichliter

There are four construction plans ranging from $52 to $96 million. There are informational meeting being held to finalize the decisions.

The first option would be to just do the bare minimum like updating only the building systems, such as plumbing. It’s the least expensive option, at $52 million.

Option two is an $80 million plan to renovate 220,000 square feet of the building, which would expand the building horizontally. A new level of the parking deck would be added on also.

Option three would be expanding the building vertically. This plan includes a shorter, wider hallway with classrooms branched off of it and would cost about $87 million.

“Option 3 is basically building a new high school on the (same) site,” Dr. Leichliter told LancasterOnline.

The fourth option would be the most expensive option, which would be to build a new high school at the Hambright Elementary/ Manor Middle campus in Manor Township. This option would cost $96 million, and would likely require reconstruction of surrounding roads and intersections at the new location.

The reconstruction plans are meant to address the amount of time that students spend in the hallways and provide additional options for scheduling.

“With the reconstruction it would reduce the time spent in the hallways, and not all students would have to be on a block schedule. Some students might be on a block schedule, and some might have traditional periods. We could have a mix of both, because not all students do well in 90 minute block classes,” said Dr. Leichliter.

The debt for this project, regardless of which option is chosen, will last the next 22 to 27 years.

On June 1, the board will be continuing to discuss all of the options.

By July 1, the board members plan to select an option and submit to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

One thought on “District planning high school renovations”

  1. I believe the best plan is to build a new building on the manor middle school property. The cost is high but so it is for the renovations, and with renovations you still have the same late 50’s building. The school district can then sell the existing building and property to millersville university who sorely needs the place to expand. Another advantage to building a new building is that the amount of disruption is significantly reduced since the students can stay in the old building until the new one is finished. Has the cost of disruption and temporary classrooms been factored into the estimate? And finally, the next generation of students will have a new high school. This is a win win win for everyone and imo the only reasonable choice.

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