Lehigh Valley

Allentown residents enthusiastic about new school

Concerns expressed, but reaction positive

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Allentown School District took their show on the road Tuesday night, hosting a hearing on a proposed elementary school planned for 12th and Gordon streets 

The hearing, held at Allentown H.O.P.E. Community Church, near where the school would be erected, attracted about two dozen residents who heard the district's presentation about why it is needed, how it will be built and how much money it will cost.

Not all salient questions, however, were answered to everyone's satisfaction.  

"How much are you taxing the property owners?" inquired Wendie Lazansky, a neighborhood resident.

The answer was not forthcoming at the hearing, which allowed any resident to speak for up to five minutes, but did not allow for a dialogue or question-and-answer session.

The district's solicitor, John Freund, said that the district would respond to inquiries on the project over the next 30 days. He added that those not in attendance Tuesday night had 30 days to submit their comments to the district.

All of the residents who spoke Tuesday night greeted the proposed project with some degree of enthusiasm.

The new building will have a 1,000-student capacity. The majority of the students will come from Cleveland and McKinley elementary schools, which will be shuttered. Another 200 students will come from other buildings, including Ramos and Central elementary schools.

The new building will feature a modern masonry and glass design, with a secure entrance for visitors. 

In an effort to identify the building as an elementary school, it will incorporate a "playful" design. The beams supporting one of the building's lower roofs outside the entrance will resemble a cartoon character. 

Nearby resident Casey Fox said she was impressed with the new architectural conception of facility.

"I think this building looks absolutely beautiful," Fox said.

Another neighborhood resident, Susan Fuller, said she was "thrilled" about the construction of the new school, but that said that a "gigantic school isn't a neighborhood school."

She also warned administrators that a school "with all those windows had better have good heating and cooling systems."

David McGuire, a former Allentown city councilman, commented it was important "that the project was totally integrated with the city" and that "the problems that exist in the neighborhood should not be magnified."

Another individual, who was not a city resident but a teacher in the Allentown School District, Tim Kearney, said the cost of the project — more than $39.2 million — was expensive, but said the new building's "benefits outweighs the costs."

Some concerns were expressed.

Barbara Miller, president of the Union and West End Cemetery, was concerned children would trample throughout the historic city landmark, the final resting place of no fewer than 714 Civil War veterans.

"You have to be sure to keep children out of the cemetery," she said.

Another volunteer at the cemetery, Joseph Calhoun, agreed with Miller.

While he was "really excited about this project," he added "I do share some of the concerns about the children when they come out of the school and the damage they may do to the cemetery.

DISCLAIMER FOR COMMENTS: The views expressed by public comments are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the TERMS OF USE  and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Your comments may be used on air. Be polite. Inappropriate posts or posts containing offsite links may be removed by the moderator.

This Week's Circulars

Lehigh Valley News

Latest From The Newsroom