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Committee weighs fate of New Hope-Solebury’s Lower Elementary School


The end could be coming for the aging New Hope-Solebury Lower Elementary School.

Before a group of teachers and parents who characterized the building as outdated but well loved, members of the New Hope-Solebury School Board’s Facilities and Finance committees spoke at length this week about the district’s dual elementary school campuses.

Currently, kindergarten through second grade students learn at the LES, a 1930s-era building on Sugan Road, before they graduate to the Upper Elementary School, which houses grades 3 through 5 and is located next to the middle and high schools.

The discussion is part of the school district’s Lion Legacy Vision 2030 plan, which includes elementary school renovation goals that highlight flexible learning spaces, STEAM facilities, visual and performing arts programs, outdoor environments and learning commons.

Much of the discussion was based on rudimentary and conservative estimates — only including the “hard costs” — for three options: upkeep with no changes to the current campuses; investment in both elementary campuses; and investment in only one elementary campus.

The estimates reviewed by the committee showed that investing in only one elementary campus would cost only $1 million to $3 million more than baseline upkeep. Meanwhile, it’d cost $8 million to $11 million above the baseline to invest in both campuses.

Many members of the community attended the meeting and shared concerns and comments.

Melvin Band, of Solebury, encouraged the district to “focus on needs.”

Multiple teachers and community members urged the committees not to “underestimate” the old building, mentioning that it was a “tradition” or a “rite of passage” for K-2 students, something that the community would be sad to see go.

“As the building principal, I am confident that under any circumstances, our Lower Elementary staff will continue to do what we do best: serve the needs of our Littlest Lions, their families and our community,” LES Principal Dr. Jennifer Bloom reiterated in a statement following the meeting.

The committee closed out the topic by supporting a motion to fund a more-detailed estimate for investing in one elementary campus.

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