Wednesday, March 5, 2014

New Hope-Solebury School District Facility Committee attempts to define scope of campus revitalization

By Charlie Sahner, New Hope Free Press

While the Facility Committee of the New Hope-Solebury School District
discussed several items at their meeting Tuesday night, including
updates on Field 13, the UES outdoor ‘pavilion’ learning center, and a
potential parking space lease with the owners of the proposed Odette’s
boutique conference center, the center ring was clearly occupied by an
attempt to reach a recommendation on the “level of campus revitalization

At stake is a multiyear, multimillion dollar overhaul of the School
District’s main campus on West Bridge Street that would address student
needs, repair and conserve existing infrastructure, and initiate
construction of other sections that will improve the functioning and
security of the UES, Middle School and High School. Most everyone agrees
that improved maintenance and security are desirable.

But the direction, cost and scope of the project has been the subject
of heated debate for some time, with several school board members
clearly setting their long-term sights on NH-S moving up in state
academic rankings, others wanting to prioritize updating the school
system’s sports facilities to ease what they perceive as congestion,
shortage of fields, and gender-based access equality concerns, and a
vocal group asking what all the construction is about and what it will
cost the taxpayers.

In the end, the Committee, with Chair Jonathan Adar keeping a firm
hand at the helm, narrowed possible revitalization recommendations from
three to two.

Said audience member and New Hope resident Mel Brand, “A lot of this
building is basically going to Solebury Township — the head of parks and
recreation wants space, and it’s going to be for their stuff after
school, that’s what it is.”

“Our first priority is to take care of the students; recreational
should be whatever is left,” said Ed Duffy, former New Hope Borough
Council Member.

School Superintendent Dr. Raymond Boccuti said, “After years of
looking at short- and long-term needs of the district, last evening at
the public board meeting, the facilities and finance committees were
directed to work together to move forward. So, we’re now working through
three design options to address all of these needs, and we took a step
forward tonight by focusing in on two of those options. After the next
Finance Committee meeting, I think the Facilities Committee will be
gearing up to make a formal recommendation to the School Board.”

No comments:

Post a Comment