At last week’s meeting of Council Rock School Board, the members approved final bids for the Richboro Elementary School renovation project set to begin this summer.
The project has been in the works for some time, having previously been approved by the Northampton Township Board of Supervisors back in November 2022.
The renovation plans include a 10-classroom addition, new administrative offices, and parking lot upgrades on the property. The district is also paying for a new left turn lane to be added on Upper Holland road to address traffic concerns in the area. Schrader Group Architecture will be undertaking the project which is expected to cost an estimated $36.35 million.
Richboro Elementary is just one of many Council Rock schools to be renovated in the past 10 years. It follows Holland, Hillcrest, and Rolling Hills elementary schools among others.
During the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Andrew Sanko described how district studies showed that enrollment would steadily increase over the coming decade and that upgrades to Richboro Elementary are necessary.
“A demographic study commissioned by Council Rock and conducted by Cropper GIS last year indicated that an increased enrollment projection of nearly 10 percent at the elementary level and specifically a greater than 14 percent projection of growth at Richboro Elementary School will occur over the next decade.”
He indicated further details are available on the Council Rock website under Cropper March 2022 Report.
School Board Director Yota Palli, a member of the district finance committee, gave further details regarding the nature of the bids as Council Rock was originally looking at multiple options for renovating the school.
“The board reviewed bids for the Richboro Elementary renovations project. There were bids of about $23.2 million for a five-classroom addition, $26.7 million for a 10-classroom addition, and $27.9 million for alternate plans. Administration recommended to the board a 10-classroom addition and there was enough agreement at the table at the committee meeting to get it done.”
She went on to describe that work on the project would begin in July and all students and staff will be required to vacate the building. The project is estimated to be completed in the Fall of 2024 with students returning in December of that year.
Director Bob Hickey, who represents the Richboro area on the board, reflected on what the project will mean to his community.
“One of the reasons I ran for this position is I felt that Richboro wasn’t getting its just due. It was Richboro Middle School that was shut down several years ago. Also, our special education has increased over the last 10 years and those students rightly deserve the same quality education afforded to all. Like it or not, it requires more space to educate those students.”
He added, “There will be room for an increase in special education and room for ideas that are only conceptualized right now such as a sixth-grade center or all-day kindergarten. Without the added room, those ideas won’t even get off the ground. For all these reasons, I’m in favor of not only the rebuild but the added classrooms. To the Richboro Community, you’ve earned this.”
In the end, the board voted unanimously to approve the Schrader Group bid and proceed with the project. With the school year winding down, the project will begin in short order.