Using A Pool As Classrooms

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SUMMIT HILL -- A school district in Carbon County is growing. So much so, that 800 students use modular units as classrooms but plans are in the works to change that.

In the Panther Valley School District, 12 modular units have been used as classrooms for years. They're for students in the elementary school. School officials say the units are costly to maintain, especially when temperatures drop.

Plans are in the works to turn a swimming pool into 11 classrooms. For most of its life, it's been idle and at times used as storage space. Once it's renovated, the pool space will be used for seventh and eighth graders, eliminating the modular units.

Susan Binder of Nesquehoning said she's glad to see the modular units go.

"I never did like them. I truly believe they should be in a class in the school district in the school room."

Binder and her husband Ron care for their great-niece who is a student at Panther Valley.

"That's logical to me because if the space is there and they're not using themselves then why not." Ron Binder said.

The plan calls for a reshuffling of classes between the district's three schools. For example, the elementary school will only have kindergarten to third grade.

The pool conversion and other improvements have a $5.6 million price tag.

School Superintendent Rose Porembo explained that will create a tax increase in the school district.

"This would be an increase of 1.5 mills and it would not be put on all in one year. Obviously, .75 in one year and .75 in the second year."

Lori Melicharek said any tax increase is too much.

"It's already tough. My father owns all these homes and he has to pay taxes after taxes on every one of these homes."

The superintendent of schools said turning the pool area into classrooms won't be complete until at least October of next year.