By Robert Stoneback
The Danville News
DANVILLE — With the Danville Middle School back in operation after two years of repairs, the district must now decide what to do with the building used as its interim school.
The Danville Elementary School, which had been closed at the end of the 2010-2011 school year with the opening of the new Danville Primary School, was used to provide classrooms to the district’s seventh and eighth-grade students following the closing of the middle school after flood damage sustained during Tropical Storm Lee in Sept. 2011. About 550 sixth, seventh and eighth graders needed relocated classrooms, with sixth-graders being taught in spare classrooms at the Danville Primary School.
At the Danville school board’s Tuesday night meeting, they began to brainstorm how to best use the now student-free Danville Elementary School, which was renovated shortly after the middle school was temporarily closed.
“This building is in outstanding condition, with air-conditioning, fresh paint … It’s one of the better buildings in the area,” said board president Allan Schappert.
The second store of the three-story building is currently being rented by Behavioral Specialist Incorporated, which recently moved to Danville from Mount Carmel, Schappert said.
Board members said they wanted to keep their options open in regards to future tenants. Offers have been made in the past, said Schappert, and the plan is to keep the building within the district.
“We see it as providing a revenue stream for the district,” Schappert said. “For now, it has a greater value being leased” than sold.
Schappert said he would prefer to see the property go towards a business or group that focuses on education, children or government or non-profit work.
The land surrounding the Riverside Elementary School, which was closed at the end of the 2010-2011 school year along with Danville Elementary, is also up for sale, however the building itself is not usable, according to Cheryl Latorre, district superintendent.
A public auction of equipment formerly used at Riverside Elementary will take place Oct. 19, at 9 a.m., at the site of the former school. Items to be auctioned include desks, chairs, bookshelves, music instruments, gym equipment, kitchen equipment and sound systems. More information can be had by contacting G. Owen Grove Auctions, at 570-387-5178.
The second day of classes at the Danville Middle School went just about as smoothly as the first, said middle school principal Charles Smargiassi.
He and Latorre reminded students and parents not to cross Route 11 to get to the school. A crosswalk normally used by students to cross the street has been temporarily closed due to construction along Route 11.
The district advised parents to send their children to school via school busses to mitigate traffic congestion around the construction.
Repairs to the Danville Middle School cost about $11.5 million, with approximately $10 million being reimbursed by the Pennsylvania and federal emergency management agencies.
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