New Construction

Pa. School Board Approves New Middle School

The school board of the Lebanon School District in Lebanon, Pa., recently approved the construction of a new facility for seventh- and eighth-graders, as well as renovations to an existing middle school building. The renovated middle school will house fifth- and sixth-graders once the new facility is complete. District Superintendent Arthur Abrom estimated the total cost of the project to be between $65 million and $70 million.

The project is part of a redevelopment program that has been in the works since 2006, according to local news sources. The decision to begin executing now came with the availability of federal stimulus money following the COVID-19 pandemic. The district will use $15 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds toward the construction, as well as $23 million in savings. It will still have to borrow about $30 million to cover the full cost. Due to the restrictions of ESSER funds, the construction must be finished and the building in use by Sept. 2024.

Currently, fifth-graders in the district attend elementary school, while sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders attend a single middle school. The new building will be constructed first and house middle-school students in grades 6–8. Once renovations to the second building are complete, fifth graders from the elementary school and sixth graders from the new facility will move there.

The dual construction project is intended to relieve overcrowding at the existing middle school. The school is at more than 100% capacity, and students have been moved into “modules” outside the building to account for the overflow. The district’s elementary schools are also at 98% capacity, and moving fifth-graders to a new building will free up classroom space there, as well.

Final plans and renderings of the facilities are still in progress. The new facility will share athletic facilities, parking amenities and possibly an auditorium with the existing high school.

The district has selected Beers and Hoffman Ltd as the project’s architect.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].