Ninth grade students in the Hempfield Area School District could move to a middle school building during the 2023-24 school year as district officials prepare for a multimillion-dollar high school construction project.

The proposed plan, which would involve the restructuring of the district’s middle schools, works to limit the number of students in the high school after board members voted in March to move forward with a project that involves tearing the high school down to its structural system and rebuilding.

Possible future plans, laid out in a letter from Superintendent Tammy Wolicki, suggest that sixth, seventh and eighth grade students will be consolidated into Wendover and West Hempfield middle schools. Ninth grade students will move into Harrold Middle School until the high school project is complete.

According to Wolicki, declining enrollments allows for Wendover and West Hempfield to house all of the district’s middle school students.

“Operating as two middle schools maximizes resources and utilizes the two new buildings,” Wolicki said. “An additional advantage is increased collaboration for teachers in the same content areas and grade levels, which promotes consistency and equity in instruction.”

Conversations surrounding the high school project have been ongoing since December 2020, when board members first moved forward with a feasibility study for the project.

The study, completed by Bellevue-based Core Architects and SitelogIQ of Oakmont, presented board members with three options for the high school: renovate, revitalize or rebuild. Board members ultimately moved forward with revitalization, which will cost between $97.4 million and $109.9 million.

The study also looked at other improvements needed across the district, which will cost about $12 million.

District officials plan to further discuss the possible middle school plan during Monday’s board meeting. Public meetings will be scheduled over the next several months.

Any future plans would require a school board vote, which could take place as early as August. Those plans would go into effect in August 2023.

“The 2022-2023 school year will operate with three middle schools and ninth graders attending the high school as the design phase of the high school revitalization project is completed,” Wolicki said. “We recognize the challenges that such changes may bring for students, staff and the community. Your input is important.”

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, or via Twitter .

Source Google News – Read the original article

Hempfield Area freshmen would shift to middle school during construction project, under proposal – TribLIVE

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