Wissahickon Administration Recommends Closing Mattison Avenue Elementary
Closing Mattison Avenue Elementary and building a new high school were the major points in the Wissahickon administrative facilities study recommendations.
Young Park, president of the Wissahickon School Board opened Monday night’s school board meeting stating that the board was only hearing the facilities recommendation from the administration and not voting on the plan.
Superintendent Judith Clark, said the administration has worked on the administrative plan for over two years and has commissioned two different studies over those two years: an enrollment study and a facilities study.
The administration and the school board has also taken time to tour two neighboring school districts, Great Valley School District, whose high school has been retrofitted to accommodate 21st century learning; and Souderon Area School District, whose high school has been built new. The group also toured neighboring Upper Dublin High School.
In considering the facilities study, Clark said the administration considered 21st Century teaching and learning standards, enrollment projections, the infrastructure and maintenance of the current buildings, cost effectiveness of new construction over renovation, available funding, and the community impact.
The administrative recommendations for facilities broke the plan down by a secondary, elementary and community plan.
The secondary plan includes the construction of a new high school on the same, or near the same site, with the inclusion of a pool and round gym in the new high school.
In the report to the school board, the high school has gone through a number of expansions that have caused problems to the building, including D and I Halls subject to significant flooding.
Clark said the cost to retrofit the high school would be a significant portion of the cost to build a anew high school.
“It’s not cost effective to retrofit [the high school],” she said.
The middle school pool would be converted to an auditorium. The pool is approximately 40 years old, and is costly to repair and there is difficulty in maintaining the ventilation and the air quality.
There is also no auditorium at the middle school, and the only large performance space is the gymnasium. The only large area is the district for performances is the high school auditorium, putting heavy use on the facility.
At the elementary levels, the closure of Mattison Avenue Elementary School at the end of the 2012-13 school year and facilities upgrades at the remaining elementary schools.
Clark said she is well aware of the love and loyalty to Mattison Avenue Elementary but the community, but there is no way structurally that it can become a K-5 building.
Enrollment at the elementary schools has been declining since the 2001-02 school year, with an overall decrease of 156 students. The district has approximately 592 open seats overall in elementary classrooms.
Overall, the report shows that the elementary and secondary schools will require extensive facilities work to keep them functional and meeting the 21st Century teaching and learning standards.
And on the community plan, establishing a Community Input Group, which will be comprised of 20 community members.
Interested applicants should e-mail applications and a resume to Wade Coleman, the District’s Business Administrator, by June 30.