Officials in York Suburban School District are studying facilities to determine whether changes should be made.

The options include middle-school grade-shifting and possible closure of an elementary school.

The Murphy & Dittenhafer architectural firm recently presented the school board with a feasibility study examining building conditions and enrollment projections.

Two elementary schools have imminent problems, with East York needing a new HVAC system estimated to cost $1.6 million and Indian Rock needing a new roof for about $1.5 million.

Close a school? In lieu of spending the money to fix both buildings at a time when enrollment studies project overall student population will decrease in coming years, the architects said officials could close Indian Rock and relocate students to another elementary school.

East York, built in 1957, can be easily expanded to have 14 new classrooms, the architects said.

Superintendent Kate Orban, who emphasized that all options are still under the board's consideration, said there has been no firm cost established for closing Indian Rock and relocating students.

There are some potential downfalls to exercising the closure option for Indian Rock, which opened in 1973, including its position as the only building in the western

portion of the district and the increased transportation costs to bus students, she said.

Both elementary schools also have what Orban calls a "café-gym-atorium," a schedule-challenging multi-purpose room that serves as gym, cafeteria and auditorium.


"It was common to do years ago, but the trend is to move away from that," Orban said. "When you have lunch, you can't schedule gym class in there."

Middle school: The middle school, attended by students in grades 6,7 and 8, needs a new boiler for about $140,000, according to the study.

The building also has a problem with overcrowding, especially in the music and arts section, because of a higher-population "bubble" of students moving up through the grades, Orban said.

The overcrowding could be addressed by moving sixth grade to the elementary schools, but Orban said officials would need to see a lot of data to support such a decision because the increased population is only temporary.

"It's a five-year overcrowding," she said. "But you don't make long-term decisions based on that."

Elsewhere: The high school has capacity, but there are problems with the roof, including a greenhouse that was built on top of the building when the school was constructed in the 1950s, Orban said.

The greenhouse isn't compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act and is also leaking, she said.

The estimated cost of the roof repair project is $1.5 million, according to the study.

The district's other buildings are faring well, Orban said.

Yorkshire Elementary, which was built in 2010 as the first school to be constructed in the district in 38 years, needs only better traffic management for student pickup and drop-off.

Valley View Elementary was extensively renovated two years ago and needs only minor masonry repairs.

Losing students? York Suburban's student population has increased from 2,646 10 years ago to 2,849 for the 2013-14 school year, Orban said.

But a report by the Pennsylvania Economy League projects a slight decrease over the next six to 10 years.

"They couldn't explain why," Orban said.

The number of students entering kindergarten decreased so much, from about 190 to about 150, that school staff called area full-day kindergarten facilities to see "if that was where our students were going," Orban said.

"But they said their enrollment was also lower," she said. "The numbers didn't match birth records in the area. The question became, 'Where did those 5-year-olds go? Did families with only 5-year-olds move out? We just don't know."

The school board will next discuss the feasibility study at an Aug. 5 planning meeting, held at 7:30 p.m. at Ronald H. Provard Education Center, 1800 Hollywood Dr.

Correspondent Shan non Prusak contributed to this report. Reach Christ ina Kauffman at