Buildings and Grounds Update from Dr. Eshbach, Superintendent
One of the most important, yet challenging, tasks we have as a school district is to maintain our facilities. The buildings and grounds owned by the Northern York County School District include some of the finest, well-kept facilities in our area. Unfortunately, they also include some of the oldest structures that are in desperate need of attention. This winter has been brutal on these older structures with roof leaks at Northern Middle School and Northern Elementary School and bricks that have begun to fall off the Sports and Learning Center due to water penetration and freezing. The School Board will be receiving and reviewing bids for these projects. It is our intention, if the bids are acceptable, to complete these projects over the summer of 2019.
As the caretakers of taxpayer-funded properties, it is essential that we identify the most cost-effective methods to ensure the buildings we use to educate students are meeting the highest standards possible for safety, security, and comfort. We will do so with the middle school and elementary school roofs. Now that parts of the Sports and Learning Center are being leased for use by outside organizations, as well as being used by student programs (i.e. athletics, music, and drama), it is essential to maintain the critical elements of that structure as well.
What about structures that are not being used? That seems like an odd question, as most school districts are not the owners of vacant lots or buildings. Northern, however, has one such building. The William Wells Young building, located adjacent to Wellsville Elementary, is a beautiful, historic building that lends a wonderful aspect to the Wellsville community. I have always felt that its stone façade and peaked roofs provide this community with a small European village feel. The building, constructed in 1907, has beautiful stonework on the inside as well, with fireplaces in the classrooms. In front of this 120-year-old building stands a lovely memorial to the veterans of Wellsville who lost their lives fighting in foreign wars. It is a beautiful, functional, historic building. However, it is no longer conducive to the demands of a contemporary school building. Issues with access, safety, security, and the cost of maintaining this historic structure make it unusable by the School District for its traditional purpose.
The School Board and Administration would love your feedback on how the William Wells Young building could be used. How could this historic structure be maintained as one of the landmarks of Wellsville, while not being dependent upon taxpayer dollars? Are there uses for this building that honor its legacy? Is there a person or organization that sees the value and the beauty of this structure? Could this building be utilized for a more appropriate purpose? At some point, the Northern York County School District will need to consider options for how the William Wells Young building is used. We need your proposals, and value your input, as we make a decision that honors the community and the taxpayers.
Eric C. Eshbach, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Northern York County School District