PHOENIXVILLE — The Phoenixville Area School District will likely decide where to build a new early-learning center and replacement for East Pikeland Elementary School by the end of the month.
Executive Director of Operations Stan Johnson gave an update on the land search process at the June 20 Phoenixville Area School Board meeting.
“The school district is in negotiations with multiple property owners in an effort to acquire a site for our new early learning center/elementary school,” Johnson said. “Discussions are at various stages with the different property owners.”
Johnson said the district hopes to open the new facility in 2016, which means the district must act swiftly.
“To stay on schedule, the school district will need to make a decision on this property by the end of this month,” Johnson said.
An upcoming June 30 school board meeting was already scheduled to finalize the 2013-14 budget but could now also serve as the venue for deciding which property to move forward on for the district’s project.
Because of projections of growing enrollment, the school district is looking to construct a brand-new early learning center to replace the district’s current and overcrowded Kindergarten Center. The early learning center would take all of the district’s kindergartners and first-graders, along with some second-graders, possibly, before they moved on to their respective elementary schools.
Under the district’s current plan, the early learning center would be on the same property as a new East Pikeland Elementary School, a facility the district has looked at replacing or heavily renovating for approximately a decade. The two facilities would share areas such as a cafeteria and a gym, according ton information presented at past school board meetings.
A site for a new East Pikeland Elementary School was abandoned by the school board in 2008; the board cited environmental concerns as the reason for cancelling those plans.
Last year, the East Pikeland Zoning Hearing Board declined approval for a project to renovate the current East Pikeland Elementary building, saying the planned building was “much too dense and intense for the zoning district.”
That decision came as a shock to the school district, which indicated that no concerns were raised beforehand.
“I’ve been in a number of meetings with the planning board and the (township) supervisors, so I would present that we were working with them,” Superintendent Alan Fegley said at the time. “That’s where the surprise came.”
The possible properties the district is looking at purchasing have not been disclosed to the public.