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The Northern Lebanon School District is in talks to sell two of its elementary schools to the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), and a third to IU13, as it prepares to open a new combined elementary facility in August 2023.
Read More: New Northern Lebanon elementary school on track to open this fall
East Hanover Elementary School is being considered for use as a readiness center for a PA Army National Guard unit located at Fort Indiantown Gap, according to DMVA spokesperson Joseph Butera.
The upgraded facility would allow the unit to conduct their home station drills in a modern space, while still maintaining its vehicle fleet at the Gap due to its close proximity. The unit is currently located in facilities built at the base in 1939.
Lickdale Elementary School may become a Soldier/Veteran/Family Outreach Facility, supporting veterans, service members, and their families. The DMVA plans to place National Guard and veteran resources in the facility to cater to the needs of those within the region.
Following the end of the current school year, the Northern Lebanon School District will begin moving out of the buildings in June, with an auction of unused items scheduled for late June or July, according to district superintendent Gary Messinger.
“If we move forward with the purchase, the timeline would be fluid as it will take some time for renovations once DMVA takes occupancy,” said Butera.
East Hanover, Lickdale, and Jonestown elementary schools were all opened in 1958. Fredericksburg Elementary School was built in 1963 on the site of the original 1894 Fredericksburg school building.
Regarding the other two elementary schools, Messinger revealed that IU13 is interested in Jonestown Elementary.
“This would be great for the community as they would allow the facility to be utilized by our youth organizations in the evenings,” said Messinger.
Fredericksburg Elementary has received one offer so far, but more offers are expected in the near future.
Messinger previously told LebTown that the district hopes to get the appraised value on the buildings.
The decision to sell the schools comes as the district prepares to open a new state-of-the-art elementary school in Bethel Township, which will house all kindergarten through sixth-grade students in the district under one roof. The $55 million project began in spring 2021 and is expected to open at the start of the 2023-24 school year.
The new Northern Lebanon Elementary School will consolidate students from Jonestown, Fredericksburg, Lickdale, and East Hanover elementary schools. Proceeds from the sale of the existing schools will help offset some costs of the new facility, which is also expected to save the district up to $30 million in operating costs over 30 years.
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