MASD on the move

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MASD on the move

Erin Harris, Sports Editor

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Have you been unfortunate enough to have gotten caught in traffic lately going through Mechanicsburg? It’s likely the traffic headache occurred because of one of the several construction projects happening within the school district. All of this construction happening across the district is due to the fact that the Mechanicsburg School District is rapidly growing.

 

Five years ago, 3,750 students were enrolled in the MASD, and currently there are 4,460 students in the district. If those numbers don’t show how fast MASD is growing, this will: the projected enrollment in five years is 5,200. The growth is evident at all levels within the district. 

 

At first it was just the elementary schools feeling the impact of our growing district. In order to buffer the impact, the district worked hard to make sure great teachers, administrators, and support staff were hired to help students flourish despite the increasing numbers. 

 

However, the rapid growth has recently impacted the middle and high school as well. 

 

Multiple feasibility studies have been done in the past few years to see the best options the district has when it comes to the growing enrollment. These feasibility studies involve building and district administrators as well as the architecture firm that the school district contracts with. The studies not only look at the enrollment number but also look at the programs being run at the schools and how they can be flexible when it comes to the growth of students. 

 

The firm also looks at the programs and the space provided. Looking at how the schools’ programs can change based on how many classrooms are available is important. All of these things factor into how the high school may look in 15-20 years. 

 

Mr. Dave Harris, high school principal, mentions, “The architect firm that we work with has taken us out to other schools they have recently built. They’ve also come in here and studied our building and the outside of our building and traffic with drones.” 

 

Creating and designing a space for all students to flourish is the key for the continued growth and change of the school district. 

 

The high school is also looking at ways to change their programs so that not every student is in the building all of the time. Administrators at the high school have been experimenting with bell schedules, block classes, and start times. Other opportunities such as early to college, internships, CPAVTS, and other programs have been opened to juniors and seniors. 

 

Mr. Harris also states, “Our goal here with secondary program is that by your junior/senior year, your experience should start to look more like where you’re going and less like where you came from.”

 

All of these internal projects are going on at the same time as the school district’s building projects. From making Elmwood the fourth and fifth grade building, to building onto all of the elementary schools and kindergarten academy, and even building the Wildcat Activity Center at the high school, the school district is preparing for the oncoming growth of enrollment.  

 

As Dr. Mark Leidy, superintendent, said, “We must work hard to preserve the personal and family experience that makes MASD such a great place to learn and live.”