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EASD dedicates new Bear Creek School — Observations by Jeff McCloud

Nov 27th, 2011 | By | Category: Features, Lead Article

Monday, November 21, 2011 (Reposted from Chronicling Elizabethtown)
In my official capacity as the parent of a student at the new Bear Creek School, I attended the dedication ceremony for the $18 million building held yesterday. Originally scheduled for Oct. 30, it was delayed because of that day’s freak snowstorm. The dedication was a nice event, with all the typical dignitaries speaking and thanking the appropriate individuals.

Two details stood out to me during the ceremony:

(1) In 2009, the Pennsylvania Department of Education said the Bear Creek School construction project was the cheapest of all school construction in the Commonwealth, according to school Director Terry Seiders, who is chairman of the school board’s Facilities Committee. He said the project cost $115 per square foot; in 2009, the average cost for school construction was $183 per square foot.

(2) School Board President Jamie Rowley said Bear Creek is the first brand new school, on a new footprint, that the Elizabethtown Area School District has built in 50 years.

Those are notable details, to be sure. In the program handed out yesterday, the district noted some other details:

The district originally estimated construction at about $23 million, but a favorable construction climate saved nearly $5 million.

The project is funded through general obligation bonds. The debt, according to the program, has no impact on the district’s tax rate because the district has paid off some debt, the difference between construction estimates and actual costs as noted above and favorable interest rates.

The 153,000-square-foot school has 48 classrooms housing fourth, fifth and sixth graders. It has five science labs, nine small group instruction spaces, two art rooms, a full-sized gym and an auxiliary gym, a food court and cafeteria and an outdoor play area.

The school has 940 students, 61 teachers, two administrators and 28 support staff.

Bear Creek School certainly is a state-of-the-art facility, with technology such as wireless internet throughout and smart boards in every classroom. I certainly am pleased that my 11-year-old is in a brand new school and can take advantage of new technologies that were only a dream when I was his age.

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