It's coming down.
The Abington School Board late Tuesday night approved a motion authorizing the demolition of the Glenside-Weldon Elementary School on Easton Road. The school had been replaced by the newer Copper Beech Elementary several years ago.
Many of the school board members said the decision to knock the building down did not come lightly.
“We are doing the prudent thing — what’s in the best interest of the community,” School Board President Raymond McGarry said.
The school district will retain ownership of the property should it need to build a new elementary school on the site in the future. The school board will still need to solicit bid specifications for knocking the building down, those bids will have to be advertised and then awarded. Superintendent Amy Sichel said she expects the board to advertise for bids in August or September.
The board also approved the transfer of $2 million from the district’s committed general fund balance to its capital project fund to make the project happen.
The building is costing the district about $250,000 annually to maintain, according to McGarry.
Click here to read about the feasibillity study about razing the building.
Prior to the vote, two people spoke out against knocking the building down. Resident John Monaghan said while Keswick Village is vibrant, the Glenside-Weldon building is a spot of “sullen nothingness.” He’s been pushing for the school district to sell the property so business may thrive in the area. He also said the school board has had very little outreach to the community during the process.
See a letter to the editor written by Monaghan in October 2012 regarding the school here.
Resident Ashley Spearman, who is also on the Abington Township Planning Committee, also asked the board to grant the school a stay of execution.
“The neighbors are just catching up with the idea that you’re going to knock it down,” he said.
Several school board members, including Adam Share, said the district has spent a significant amount of time and money looking into the viability of keeping the building.
“Professionals say [Glenside-Weldon] is run down — nobody wants it,” Share said. “I don’t see any downside to demolishing the building. To have this building there, a building that professionals said wasn’t commercially viable, doesn’t make any sense.”