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Board votes to close two aging elementary schools

By HANNAH STEELE – The Indiana Area School District school board voted on Monday, September 12 to shut down Horace Mann and Eisenhower Elementary schools and replace them by expanding East Pike and building a new Ben Franklin complex.

Board directors voted 7-2 to put the design in the hands of McKissick Associates architects to design a new school at the Ben Franklin location to accommodate more than 900 students, and to add renovations to East Pike to suit over 450 students. Changes are hoping to be made by September 2018.

These new renovations could result in a cost of more than 30 million dollars; money that some angry taxpayers feel is too high a price to pay.

With the recent decline in business and houses being purchased, some feel that adding new renovations is useless and costly to the taxpayers of Indiana.

Declarations have even been made suggesting Indiana Borough secede from the Indiana School District to form their own schools.

According to the Indiana Gazette, Indiana Borough council President Peter Broad stated, “The loss of borough schools is going to have a devastating effect on the borough’s ability to attract new residents, especially young families.”

Horace Mann and Eisenhower are important history to some in Indiana, PA.

Many residents feel that because it is over 100 years old, Horace Mann is an important piece of history that should be preserved.

Back in 2011, claims were made about closing Horace Mann. In attempt to preserve the school, three local girl scout troops protested by standing outside of the school and holding a sign declaring, “This place matters.” A member of one of the girl scout troops back in 2011, freshman Kasey Anderson still has a strong opinion about the school, “Horace Mann is over a hundred years old,” she asserted, “It is a historical landmark in Indiana, PA and should not be destroyed.”

In evolving to a two-school setup, some feel the effects will be noticeable to students. Sophomore Emma Roth said, “I think it will be detrimental to the community, mainly to the kids because having more elementary schools allows more diversity among the kids later on.”

Although there has been much criticism over the matter, some people think that eventually, this will be beneficial to Indiana as a whole. Freshman Jack Finegan stated, “I think at first people will be upset, but in time they’re going to realize that it is a good move in terms of transportation and convenience, since in the plan Eisenhower and Horace Mann will be closed in favor of a bigger East Pike and Ben Franklin.”

“I think the buildings are outdated,” freshman Haleigh Trabert commented. “Having newly renovated schools will help make going to school more enjoyable for the students.”

All of these changes in the school system are bringing mixed reactions from the community. What is the future of Indiana’s school system? Time will tell.

[Photo by Hannah Steele]

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