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Residents Flock to New Middle School, 4-5 Center
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer


            An early peek at Upper Perkiomen's new middle school in Upper Hanover attracted overflow crowds. By 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4, vehicles filled the parking lot of the new facility at 901 Montgomery Ave. Crowds snaked around the side of the building waiting to enter.

            Inside the main entrance, Principal Christine L. Siegfried and Assistant Superintendent Andrea Farina greeted visitors as they crossed the threshold. Most parents brought their children, who were eager to see their new learning space. Some were just curious residents.

            The newly renovated Upper Perkiomen 4th and 5th Grade Center, located at 510 Jefferson Street in East Greenville, hosted a similar event at the same time. Both locations saw an initial surge of visitors and a steady flow throughout the evening, according to district spokesperson Nikki Gum.

            "We were very pleased that a significant number of students, families and  guests took advantage of the opportunity to get acquainted with the new buildings prior to the start of classes," Gum wrote in an email message. "We knew that having the opportunity to walk the halls of the buildings before the first day of school was important to our community members, so we were pleased to be able to offer preview nights at both facilities."

            Crowds of excited students and curious parents packed the hallways at the new facility for sixth, seventh and eighth graders. Multiple teachers, strategically located through the hallways, chatted with the visitors and provided directions.

            "We were expecting a large turnout for the open house, but nothing like this," said Amy McPherson, an eighth grade math teacher. "We are so blessed to have this school."

            One Upper Hanover family expressed a similar sentiment. Rachel and Adam Deskevich, whose son, Theo, started eighth grade the following day, described the school as necessary to handle a growing community. They both said the building was worth the tax increase imposed by the school board.

            Rachel Deskevich, who described the couple as big supporters of public education, said she was impressed by the technology the school offers. Adam liked the way the school was laid out and that the halls and classrooms were filled with natural light. Theo said he was disappointed he could only attend the school for one year.

            Sitting in a lobby area near the classroom stairway, one Pennsburg resident described the school as beautiful. "I love it," said Kevin Gerber, whose son, Brodey, entered sixth grade.

            Gerber, who was waiting for his wife and son to locate his locker, added that he liked the views of the Green Lane Reservoir.

             "I'm very impressed. Everything looks perfect," Gerber said, adding that his son is very excited to begin classes.

            Gerber believes the building is worth the tax increase, but wondered if another proverbial shoe would soon drop. "My concern now that we have new school, are the teachers going to want more money?" he said.

            Alex Martes, a new Pennsburg resident, pushed a stroller through the halls. Martes, whose daughter will be entering sixth grade, recently relocated from Ephrata.

            "Everything here seems good to me," Martes said. "It looks like it's easy to get lost."

            Savannah Crossin, a student at the school, described the facility as a big upgrade from the former middle school. "I like the views," she said.

            However, her mother, Lisa Crossin, called the facility "a waste of taxpayer money."

            Bob Graber, an Upper Hanover resident with two grown children, described the school as "fabulous and beautiful." He described the views as "gorgeous".

            Initially, Graber said he was not in favor of the plan to build the school but came around as friends and family insisted it was necessary.

            "I always heard how gross the old middle school was," Graber said. "I thought I got a good education at Old Main. But I guess that no longer holds."

             At the time of the open house, the new school was 95 percent complete, according to Doug Kenwood, District Director of Facilities and Operations.

            He said the main gym floor and the auditorium stage required the application of several coats of a polyurethane coating which would be done after hours. Some column work also needed to be completed.

           According to Kenwood, several punch list items – in areas such as the technical education and family consumer science areas – should be completed in approximately 10 days. 

            The public can take another look at the new facility on Thursday. The district and the school board will host Upper Perkiomen Middle School Community Celebration & Open House prior to tonight's public meeting. A  Community Celebration Ceremony is scheduled for 6:45 p.m.

            Building tours will be given at 7 p.m. prior to the start of the board meeting at the school, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

           Similar events at the district's 4th and 5th Grade Center in East Greenville have been scheduled for Oct. 10.





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