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UPSD Officials Discuss Middle School Conversion
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            The future of Upper Perkiomen's current middle school, on Jefferson Street in East Greenville, likely includes its conversion to a center for fourth and fifth graders. "That's the priority," Superintendent Alexis McGloin said during the school board's Facilities Committee meeting on April 9.

            McGloin said during the meeting that district officials know what they want, but they need someone "who can help us figure how to make it happen and determine the cost."

            Melanie Cunningham, a board member and chair of the committee, "is pretty sure" the three-person panel will recommend that the full board put out a request for proposal to architectural firms to help come up with a conceptual plan to convert the middle school.

            Administrators have an idea where they want to utilize classrooms, according to McGloin. She said they need to replace the lockers and create cubbyholes in the classrooms. The superintendent also suggested the need for an elevator.

            "We may need help with a small feasibility study," she said during the meeting. "We need to look at the cost."

            Administrators are planning to transfer all fourth and fifth graders to the reconfigured facility in coordination with the planned opening of the new middle school, on Montgomery Avenue in Upper Hanover, at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. According to McGloin, that arrangement would help alleviate crowding concerns at the district's two elementary schools.

            Board president Kerry Drake, an ex-officio committee member, asked about a timeline to begin work on the conversion in order to finish by that deadline. The superintendent said that could not be determined until the project is better defined.

            Committee members suggested that the feasibility study include long-term proposals to relocate the education center and implement Head Start at the facility. "If you want to move the education center there, that's a bigger conversation," McGloin said. "What does that restructuring look like?"

            John Sheeran, the district's Director of Facilities and Operations, described the 1973 wing of the current middle school, which was renovated in 2008, as in very good condition, according to an April 19 email. He called the condition of the 1958 wing "fair to good."

            Replacement of a portion of the front steps leading to Jefferson Street is scheduled for this summer, according to Sheeran.

            The district's five-year facilities plan calls for the upgrade of the HVAC Systems Control from pneumatic to electronic during the 2018-19 school year at a cost of $10,000. During the following school year, the plan calls for a similar conversion as well as the replacement of two obsolete electric panels for $10,000 and the improvement of access to a handicap lift at a cost of $10,000. In 2019-20, the plan calls for spending $30,000 to restore a section of the roof near the main office. The removal of two more obsolete electric panels is scheduled during the 2020-21 school year.





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