Peters should not build new school

Published Mar 27, 2013 at 11:25 am (Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 11:25 am)

A round a year ago, Peters Township residents were surveyed to see if they would support the construction of a new high school, which would come with a possible tax increase. The result? A resounding no. Low and behold, last week at the Peters Township School Board meeting, a group of parents asked the board to consider building a new school, due to overcrowding in the current building, as well as school safety.

The parents, most of whom are members of the PTA Area Council, went so far as to have a color brochure printed up, citing issues with the current building that include: “Limited classroom space restricts course offerings.” “Over-crowding during class changes presents safety concerns in the hallways and stairwells.” And, “The gym capacity of only 1,050 prevents the entire student body from participating in assemblies and pep rallies.”

It’s worth noting that the current building has a student capacity of 1,500 and a current student population of 1,496. Next year’s projected student enrollment drops to 1,474. In fact, even as late as 2018, the projected enrollment is only 1,537. While that exceeds current capacity, it just doesn’t make sense to build a new school to fit just 37 extra students.

As of press time, an online petition started by the parents contained a mere 403 signatures, compared to the total Peters population of 21,213, according to the 2010 Census.

These parents must be out of their minds. If per chance, this gets passed, have they considered the time and money involved? Where would students go to school in the interim? Would they actually be OK with raised taxes? We doubt it. And, what is wrong with adding on? Let us not forget that an extensive renovation of the high school was completed in 2000.

We hope that the board does not get pressured into such a ridiculous plan in order to keep pace with other new high schools, including Upper St. Clair and Mt. Lebanon – which is what many members of the community speculate this is really about. Perhaps if Peters Township residents had been more responsive to the request last year, the notion of a new school wouldn’t seem so preposterous.

And, we are not discounting the importance of school safety in any way, shape or form. If overcrowding does indeed pose a serious problem, the school board should look at the possibility of an addition or expansion of the current building.

But to tear the current school down and construct a new one? That idea gets a big, fat F.

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