School District Abandons Plans for Middle School

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DANVILLE -- In Danville, last year's flood has left the school district with a dilemma over what to do with the middle school that had several feet of water. There's still no solution since there seems to be a difference of opinions on if the school should be fixed.

According to the Danville Area School District, the original plan was to renovate the middle school that was damaged in last year's flood.

But borough council recently denied a variance that would have made that possible. Now, the district must decide what to do and where to go next.

Students in the Danville Area School District are back in class, but not inside the middle school along Route 11. That building is empty, after being damaged in last year's flood.

Danville School Superintendent Cheryl Latore says the school board hoped students would be back inside the middle school by next year, but borough council rejected a key part of the renovation the building will stay closed.

"It's a variance to what they call wet/dry-proof the building. That's to ensure that if we would be flooded again the building would not be affected by the flooding," Latore said.

Now district officials are trying to figure out the next step. The 6th, 7th and 8th graders are currently split up between two of the district's other buildings.

The Danville Area School District is looking at different options for the middle school. Latore says one possibility is using this property--the former Riverside Elementary School, which the district still owns.

"At this point I think the board has to look at all options. What's the amount of land, cost, sewage. There are so many factors to consider. It's just not a decision you're going to make overnight," Latore said.

Parents have different opinions on the future of the middle school. Collette Benner has a daughter whose seventh grade classes are currently being held at the old Danville Elementary School.

"She's doing fine there, she likes it. She didn't like being at the primary school last year with the younger kids of course. But she does like being over here," Benner said.

"It's upsetting. It's upsetting to my daughter as a parent knowing they're all going to be confined. The more children you get to an area it's cramped, there will be some behavioral issues," Louise Conner said.

The Danville Area School Board will meet Tuesday evening. The superintendent says the board will look at all of the costs before a final decision is made.