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School Board Officially Approves Closure of Glenside-Weldon

A view of the lobby of the former Glenside-Weldon Elementary School. Credit: Mischa Arnosky
A view of the lobby of the former Glenside-Weldon Elementary School. Credit: Mischa Arnosky
The Abington School Board on Tuesday night passed a resolution that closes the former Glenside-Weldon Elementary School ... as a school. 

The motion permanently closed the school, which is located in the 400 block of North Easton Road, effective Jan. 15. The school board held a formal public hearing regarding the closure of the school in mid-September. According to regulations, the school board was able to take formal action regarding the school's closure three months after the hearing. 

Yesterday, the school board notified the Pennsylvania Department of Education of its intent to close the school. 

Here are some other notable dates regarding the likely demolition of the school, as outlined by Abington School District Facilities Supervisor Stephen Saile last year.

  • Jan. 28: The board will likely consider a motion to advertise the Glenside-Weldon demolition project.
  • Jan. 30: Should that motion pass, school district officials will submit a demolition permit to the township.
  • Feb. 6: The project will be open to bids.
  • March 6: The board will receive the bids, and five days later, the board will consider taking action to award the demolition contracts.
  • April 11: The board will take action to execute contracts for the demolition project.
  • April 23: Construction will commence.
  • Sept. 6 through Oct. 24: Final completion and project closeout.

According to Saile and Assistant Superintendent Leigh Altadonna, if the district were to renovate and add on to the building instead of razing it, those modifications would cost $29.4 million next year and would cost $44.9 million in 2024; the cost of a new building in 2014 would be an estimated $26.2 million and about $36.6 million 10 years from now.

The cost to knock down the building will be about $2 million.

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Got something to say regarding the demolition of Glenside-Weldon? Let us know by leaving a comment.

John Briley January 16, 2014 at 01:32 PM
This decision is most frustrating when we consider that the board – as recently as November 2013 – claimed they were looking into preserving parts of the original buildings and/or the facade. However, following this announcement one of the most crucial board meetings (the final one prior to their formal announcement of school closure where such recent findings could be presented and questions asked) was canceled due to inclement weather. Yet the plans to announce the closure of GW was not fairly adjusted or pushed back to allow more time to review and consider the most recent variables. I was at the January 14th meeting with more than a dozen supporters from the local community and I specifically requested that the board vote to table this issue for these reasons mentioned above,..however my request was ignored and disregarded and no new info or specific findings were presented from the board’s post-November assessment. So are we to believe that the district couldn't wait just one more month to consider these facts before pushing this item through and formally closing a 100+ year old school? And what was specifically done and/or found with regard to their most recent assessment? I want to be able to look back say that I personally did everything I could to support the cause for conservation of the historical legacy of our school and town. I – and many like myself - want to be on the right side of history. I expect our numbers will grow as time passes, especially if we find ourselves living through 2 long-term construction zones instead of one followed by having a historic and untouched block of our town saddled with a less permanent “new school” identical to all the others and built with inferior materials. When the academic awards and recognition inevitably fade in the minds of the people of Glenside while the memory of Glenside Weldon remains, on which side of history will the school board of 2013-2015 be remembered? There is a reason why historical markers inscribed with “1906 and 1926” proudly adorn the facade of Glenside Weldon. It is because those who built the school - and the community as a whole - intended these buildings to stand for all time. There is a reason why there is a Facebook page that now has approximately 500 followers dedicated to saving Glenside Weldon. A school that has no current students, and yet the town is collectively rallying around this symbol of our community, because it is the only school where 3 generations of families all studied within the same walls. There are some who view and measure success through various awards, and display them proudly and predominantly. But these awards are temporary and are trumped by new awards each year. As such, there is a larger and more permanent number of people who view and measure success and pride in the legacy of their history and the unique aspects of their schools and towns. Most would agree that the Abington School Board has excelled with regard to classes, curriculum, testing, educational standards and the like. But let’s consider that these are the issues which could be reversed if they turn out to be a mistake. However, with regard to the demolition of historic structures, there is there is no going back.
Tim Lewis January 16, 2014 at 07:18 PM
These are all democrats - what do you expect? They are all about control and false transparency, and simply took a page from the new Commissioners (who stole it from the President): "We are the majority - deal with it!"
Joanne Alison Kash January 16, 2014 at 08:24 PM
Glenside Weldon isn't just any school like Roslyn overlook highland or McKinley... That is just tucked away in the neighborhood. .... It IS Glenside! It is in the heart of Glenside a major part of the community a structure that stands tall with the sense of pride that all people who went there feel and all community members share
Tim Lewis January 16, 2014 at 09:27 PM
Glenside is reliably Republican, a great place to live that has always focused on faith and family. This is payback by the democrats - deal with it.
Will Weikel January 16, 2014 at 10:56 PM
I heard The news that my elementary school is going to be knocked down, and I am horrified. To think that the school where my father met his best friend of 60 years, of where my sister brother and I all met our best friends of years and of where my oldest nephew met his best friend will no longer be nestled between the keswick village shops and New Life church (previously the Casa Conti) is very upsetting. We still have a elementary school between Cricket and Central avenues in Arsdley, that is significantly less "monumental" then old GW always has been, yet there it still stands. It's also disappointing, that as a member of the Abington Glenside community for all 35 years of my existence, that the school that was supposed to be magnificent and replace GW was built on a dump, has horrible parking & dropping off situation and is also full to the brim with students. My concern with this closing/demolition of Glenside-Weldon is that I wonder if "we", we bc it is our community and taxes that pay for all of this, have put as much deep thought into doing the best for this historical building as we did when planning for our new replacement elementary school over a decade ago. Once the schools torn to the ground, there is no resurrecting the school from its ashes... It would Be awful to make such a Grand mistake. What do you think Glenside?
shari January 19, 2014 at 07:42 AM
I think knocking it down is a good idea and they should concentrate on remodeling the high school. My son was bused to GW for two years while overlook was being rebuilt. My son was always coming home sick with sore throats and headaches and in the summer it was worse. I know for people that live there its a historical site, but i sure dont like paying school tax on something that isnt being utilized. They should redo the senior high and put in air conditioning. It may be done maybe in the future but not now.

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