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UPSD Officials Hold Ground Breaking for New Middle School
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2017-11-01

            In 1987, after walking a 43-acre parcel between Montgomery Avenue and the Green Lane Reservoir with an architect, H. George Bonekemper said he knew it would be an ideal location for a new middle school.

            Last week, 30 years later, he participated in the Upper Perkiomen School District's ceremonial ground breaking for new middle school at the same location near the intersection of Montgomery Avenue and 11th Street in Upper Hanover.

            "This makes me more than happy," said Bonekemper, a former middle school teacher, administrator, acting superintendent and school board member in the district. "I have been hoping for this. People have been looking for this project for 50 years."

            On Thursday, October 26, before a small group of teachers, administrators, students, municipal and business leaders and invited guests, Superintendent Alexis McGloin trumpeted the commencement of the district's first construction project since Marlborough Elementary in the late 1980s.

            "As a district, we are striving to give the students a great education," she said during the ceremony, which included comments from 8th grade student Danielle Freer and an accapella performance by members of the middle school chorus. 

            According to McGloin, the board deserved special recognition for their efforts to fund the construction – with an estimated cost of $55.890 million – of a three-story structure for sixth, seventh and eighth graders.  "As a district we are proud of the progress we are making," she said. "We are striving to give students a great education."

            Dr. John Farris, the school board president, called the project long overdue. He asked the members who have previously opposed the project to "come together in order to make the project a worthwhile endeavor for the entire community."

            Kimberly Fluke, a math teacher at the middle school who also attended the facility as a student, told the audience she "felt the pain" of several renovations to the current middle school, located in East Greenville.

            Fluke called the new middle school a long awaited project, and asked the community to collaberate "towards the final goal."

            Bonekemper, who came to the district as a middle school teacher in 1968, noticed the value of the property after touring it with Richard Breslin, the founder of Breslin Ridyard Fadero Architects, the Allentown firm hired to design the new school.

            According to Bonekemper, the plot had plenty of room and a scenic view. He also concluded that its proximity to the high school would better allow for staff sharing.

            In order to help pay for the construction, district officials need to make better use of tax dollars in areas, according to Bonekemper.  "There are ways to economize," he said after the ceremony.

            During his time on the school board between 2004 and 2012, Bonekemper said the members agreed that the fifth and final renovation to the middle school, in 1997, would be the last.

            "There were too many problems," said Bonekemper, whose 29 years of service to the district included time as a teacher, middle school assistant principal and principal, administrator and assistant superintendent and acting superintendent.

            Later that evening, McGloin told the audience at the board workshop meeting that district officials preferred to keep the ceremony intimate because the property was an active constructive site.

            Work that commenced in early October includes the implementation of security fencing, clearing of a majority of the side and the installation of erosion and sediment protection measures, according to an email from McGloin.

            She wrote in an October 27 message that crews are currently installing storm water inlets and preparing construction staging areas. The delivery of building foundation material, utilized for the construction of the building pad and foundations, has also been scheduled.


 

 

 

 

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