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Chester County Press

Residents can get the facts about new high school project at upcoming Act 34 Hearing

09/10/2019 04:32PM ● By Steven Hoffman

An important meeting for the Avon Grove community is going to take place on Thursday, Sept. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Avon Grove High School.

That’s the evening that the Act 34 Hearing for the new high school construction project will take place. It’s the next step for a project that has been in the planning stages for more than two years. Act 34 Hearings are a requirement of the state’s School Code, and they offer all stakeholders in the district—taxpayers, parents, school district employees, and students—with the opportunity to get information about the plans, designs, and construction costs of the project. It is also a very good opportunity for those stakeholders to offer their input about the project.

Anyone who has stepped foot inside Avon Grove High School in the last two decades understands the need for significant upgrades. The school district on several occasions over the last three decades opted for less expensive facilities options to meet the challenges of increasing enrollment, rather than constructing a new high school. An extensive renovation project on the high school could do little to ease the overcrowding on the State Road campus, especially at the current high school. The building is also not equipped to meet the needs of 21st century learning that high school students need to prepare them for college or a career.

The school district developed a plan, over the course of many months, to build a new high school and convert the current high school into a middle school to meet the long-term facilities needs of the school district. A committee comprised of a broad cross-section of individuals in the Avon Grove community helped do the work that led to the decision to build a new high school on the Sunnyside Road campus.

At the Act 34 Hearing, there will be a presentation about the new high school project, including facts about the educational, physical, administrative, budgetary and fiscal matters related to the project.

The Avon Grove School Board has previously adopted resolutions establishing the maximum project cost at $114,568,737 and a maximum building construction cost of $81,001,789. The project represents a major commitment by the community.

Attending the Act 34 Hearing and asking questions about the project is the best way to learn the facts about the project. Over the last few years, a lot of misinformation has been spread in Avon Grove about the project and its costs.

The Avon Grove School Board won’t be voting on anything during the evening of the Act 34 Hearing. But it’s an important meeting for the community members to share their input about a large project.

Community members need to learn the facts about the project, and then district officials need to listen to the thoughts and concerns of residents. The entire process that Avon Grove has used to develop a plan for the building project has been exemplary. But the Act 34 Hearing offers another opportunity to engage in the community in the decision-making process.