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Boyertown School District School Board member Stephen Elsier suggested to the district’s administration a new option for a potential use for the 1919 portion of the High School after an upcoming renovation and expansion of the high school will leave its future up in the air.
Elsier noted at the board’s February 26 meeting the passion of district residents he talked to on the subject and a recent tour he had taken of the building.
“It really is a beautiful building,” said Elsier. “There is a lot of heritage there for Boyertown. I know there is many options on the table, one of which is to demolish the building. I really would like for the administration pursue another option, and that option would be to consider moving the (Education) Center, or the central administration, into that building and to see what that would entail.
Seeing what that could potentially cost would also mean looking into the parking situation for the building, which seems to be one of the key stumbling blocks. The current administrative offices are housed in the Education Center, a stone’s throw from Colebrookdale Elementary. So Elsier suggested it may make sense to incorporate the Education Center into an expansion and renovation of Colebrookdale sometime down the road.
“Certainly it would be cheaper to make it into an office building then to update it for a current education senior high,” said Elsier. “As I step back and look and probably the key thing for alumni of Boyertown is that building.”
Elsier questioned how smart it would be to tear down that building while at the same time trying to reach out and maintain good relationships with alumni.
“I think it can be a win-win all the way around,” stated Elsier. “There has been other districts that have done some beautiful things with existing buildings and maintained the architecture and the heritage for the community.”
“I‘ve been very torn about what I personally think needs to happen but I do know that a lot of work needs to be done in that high school to make it useful for whatever we chose,” School Board President Gwen Semmens added. “It will be an investment in the future of Boyertown if we keep it and I think that the decision really does need to be made on some more facts that we don’t have right now. So I think the board has quite a chore ahead of them, as does the administration, it terms of looking at what would be the best use of that building for our community and our students.”
In other news, The Boyertown Area School District’s School Board recently approved a major re-shuffling of the administration in many of buildings in the school district, a domino effect as the result of the resignation of the district’s Assistant to the Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Johnna Weller.
As of February 20, Melissa Woodward has taken over the administrative position of Assistant to the Superintendent for Teaching and Learning after spending the previous seven years as Principal of Gilbertsville Elementary. James Towers took over for Woodward as Acting Principal of Gilbertsville Elementary until the end of the current school year, Towers had previously been the Assistant Principal at the High School. Samantha Petri, Health and Physical Education teacher at the High School, will fill in for Tower as Assistant Principal.
Beginning on Feb. 13, Greg Miller was moved to the position of Supervisor of Student Achievement and Data after spending the last six years as Principal of Boyertown Elementary. Criag Kehl was reassigned from his position of Assistant Principal of Junior High East to be the new Principal of Boyertown Elementary on that same date. Former district administrator Gwendolyn Malecki was also named Acting Assistant Principal at Junior High East.
Acting District Superintendent Robert Scoboria described these new, in-house hires as being in a “overlap and transition period” to help them get acclimated to their new duties. According to Scoboria, they will all be fully integrated into their new position by Monday, March 4.
“We are fortunate here in the Boyertown Area School District to have many leaders at many levels, we have teacher leaders who step forward and help us, and we have administrative leaders,” stated Acting Superintendent Scoboria.
“Given that we’ve had some changes in our administrative team,” said Scoboria. The cabinet and the administrators worked together to develop a plan that would provide continuity, stability to let us move forward and to let our leadership grow here in the district.”
“Over the past year here at Boyertown Area School District we’ve seen lots of change,” added board President Gwen Semmens. “ As a board member I’m thankful that we’re able to continue to provide our staff and our students the supports that are needed to ensure success. Once again we are faced with another change and our administrative team has worked very hard on coming up with a plan so that we can immediately move forward.”