Nescopeck Elementary Saved

NESCOPECK -- Berwick Area School officials say they will not consider closing Nescopeck Elementary.

The surprise announcement shocked the crowd at a meeting inside the school gym Monday night.

“The board is in favor of maintaining a school in Nescopeck, and closing Nescopeck Elementary will no longer be an option,” Superintendent Wayne Brookhart said to applause.

"Beyond thrilled. It was totally unexpected, and we are obviously more than overwhelmed,” said parent Brandy Switzer of Nescopeck.

Parents and students have been fighting to save the neighborhood school.

‘Save Our School’ signs have popped up in front of homes and businesses.

The 1932 school building needs a new roof and some interior work, too. School officials say it will cost more than $9 million and so they were considering closing the school, which is home to about 180 kids from preschoolers to fourth graders.

"The last one of my six kids is graduating this year, so me graduating from here years ago makes it even better that other families get to experience this, too, not just me. It's fun when the kids come home and say, 'Mom! I had the same teacher you had 20 years ago!'” said Sara Unger.

Nescopeck Elementary will still need repairs. School officials say that work will likely be done in the 2019-2020 school year, and during that time, students will have to attend Salem Elementary, which is about 10 minutes away.

Still, they are grateful their voices were heard, and the school will stay.

"I couldn't be happier. This is where I grew up. I'd hate to see it destroyed. It's so nice to see a community band together to save it like this,” said Oliver Brown of Nescopeck.

"I'm glad they're saving the school. I think it's wonderful, and I don't think they had to have a great big Taj Mahal, what they're doing is going to be perfect for our children,” said Emma Jane Lynn of Nescopeck.

As part of the Nescopeck Elementary renovation plan, however, preschoolers will likely be permanently moved to another building.

At Berwick Area's next school board meeting on March 12, school officials plan to officially vote to keep Nescopeck Elementary open and begin a study for a renovation.