Charter School on the Move

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BEAR CREEK -- When Gia Stoddard of Laflin goes to Bear Creek Community Charter school in Luzerne County, she has a number of space issues to deal with.

Like using a cafegymatorium, a one room for a cafeteria, gym, and auditorium.

"While the lunch ladies are making the food. We can smell it while we're running around. And that just makes us hungry," said Gia Stoddard of Laflin.

Parents said they also notice the space issue at the school when they pick up their kids.
"The crowded parking lot in the afternoon and it certainly can also be some safety issues involved in that with all the cars that are in such a small space," said Brandy Lewis, of Bear Creek.

To deal with the space problem, the school's board of trustees recently bought 97 acres of land two miles away from the current building on Route 115 in Bear Creek Township. That's where they plan to build a new larger school.

Bear Creek Charter has a cap on how many students it can accept. So the move won't mean more students, but officials say it will easily accommodate the school's current 430 students.

"In the existing site, because of its location, its demographics, the contour of the property, it really wasn't suitable for building not only the school, but the additional public recreational amenities such as soccer fields and playgrounds," said Jim Smith the Charter School C.E.O.

The school is so small right now that students have to leave the main building during the day and come to some of these classes in trailers right next door. But at this new site. They'll have 70,000 or 80,000 square feet in the building and every student and teacher will be able to fit under one roof.

It's something Gia Stoddard looks forward to.

"We won't have to have the library in the trailer and another classroom in the trailer," said Stoddard.

The school's budget will cover construction costs at no extra cost to taxpayers.

Officials are still picking designers.

The new Bear Creek Charter School isn't expected to be ready for another three or four years.