Monday, April 23, 2012

Superintendant announces that RTM is pursuing use of Nativity BVM for Media Elementary

At tonight's town hall meeting hosted at Media Elementary, Superintendent, Jim Wigo announced that RTM is pursuing a deal with Nativity to temporarily lease the school while repairs are done on Media Elementary.  Talks are in progress between the Arch Diocese and RTM. Mr. Wigo was optimitic a deal could be worked out soon.

He noted that due to possible insurance reimbursements and prudent planning by the current school board; neither higher taxes nor bonds will be needed to finance this effort.  RTM currently an emergency fund that is designated for issues such as these.

In addition, the Media Theatre has graciously offered, when needed, it's facilities to make up for auditorium needs during the time of displacement. 

Here's the breakdown of tonight's meeting:
1913 section of building was found to have issues in January. The work to repair would include replacing wooden trusses with steal trusses, beams and columns.  Construction will include heavy lifting through windows with a welded jack set in place for the repairs. At least 12 - 14 trusses are affected.

Design drawings are still being finalized as further investigation continues.  The displacement is expected to affect 425 children.  It's estimated the work will take a semester, though worst case could be up to a year.  To accommodate the work, the school is planning to be closed for a full year.

The criteria for making the decision came down to: 1) Keep the students and teachers together 2) Stay in the borough.

Options Looked at:
Roosevelt School - 1st visit:
First visit was Roosevelt school - deplorable condition, unreliable infrastructure, time & $ to make habitable not worth it.  100% transportation necessary for kids, out of borough.

Kevin's in Springfield - 2nd visit:
Out of district & borough, too small, no gym, expensive upgrades (eg sprinklers & pull stations) no room for modular classrooms. 100% transportation

Split students & move in another district - 3rd visit:
Transportation, splits kids & families. Modular classrooms would be required. Moratorium on sewer capacity in Middletown

Barrall field - 4th visit:
40 trailers needed, disruption to community, media softball relocation, construction cost would be +$2m, $600k of cost was electric alone .

Nativity BVM - Media - 5 visit:
-can add modular classrooms
-no change in trans costs
-lease costs are a fraction of Barrall field costs
-full gym
-flexibility in moving back as soon as possible
-don't believe code issues are major in the facility
- classrooms at nativity 34, need three double classrooms for last 6
-keep all arts & sciences rooms
-facilities for cafeteria (gym)
-crossing guards on Baltimore pike
-8 buses now (nativity) - matches Media Elementary
-teacher parking - considering options including shuttle
-playground will remain available to public (media elementary)
- 07/01/2012 start date
- Nativity's CYO program will not be affected
-PREP program will not be affected
-other renovations at media elementary being considered during repairs, eg air conditioning.
Questions Raised:
-elevators? None at nativity. Either lower level classes or a 'stair chair'
-bathrooms will need to be modified for ADA
-library time will not be lost
-smart boards - trying not to move (fragile)
-some level of smart board technology will be available
-outside space - upper lot & tot lot
-champions (after school program) will move to new site
-financing -board through 'rainy day fund' & insurance reimbursements
-no bonds needed to be funded
-no taxes to be raised


  1. Winning idea here! Good to see that the kids will be able to stay in Media. It is a shame that Cardinal Kaput (Chaput) put the Nativity kids out of town, but I think everybody here had their say on that already.

    Food for thought for RTM School District. Since you're up there doing the roof as it is, why not install a full set of solar panels completely across the roof? That building gets a huge level of sun, has around 170 days where it can make money for the district by selling the electricity back to PECO due to school not being in session, and can pay for itself is less than 6 or 7 years. It might actually be less than that, because the 6 or 7 year figure is based on homes needing electricity 365 days a year.

  2. Solar panels? I remember the answer I received during the Springton Lake Middle School renovation: "We can't afford it". Translation: we really don't care what's five years down the road....