Hempfield Area sets public hearing on possible middle school closure
Oct. 8—Hempfield residents have an opportunity this month to comment on proposed middle school consolidation plans and the possible closure of Harrold Middle School.
The public hearing — scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 24 in the high school auditorium — will allow residents to voice their opinions on the plans, which were first discussed in the spring.
The proposal would permanently consolidate sixth, seventh and eighth grade students into Wendover and West Hempfield middle schools.
It also would temporarily move ninth grade students from the high school to Harrold Middle School in an attempt to limit the number of students in the high school during a multimillion-dollar renovation project. That project involves tearing down the high school to its structural system and rebuilding.
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Harrold Middle School would close after ninth grade students are moved back to the high school.
The rationale for the consolidation stems from a districtwide feasibility study completed in November 2019, school officials said during a public meeting in May.
The study examined each of the district's buildings, looking at electrical, mechanical and architectural issues. Estimates for student capacity were examined, and, based on projections, Wendover and West Hempfield will be able to house all of the middle school students and staff while having space for possible growth.
"With declining enrollment, two middle schools can serve our current and anticipated population," Superintendent Tammy Wolicki wrote in a letter to parents.
According to Wolicki, the Pennsylvania School Code requires the board to hold a public hearing three months before a decision on whether to close a public school. That means a formal vote on the proposal could not take place until January.
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .