Nativity Recommended as Temporary Media Elementary Location
The RTM superintendent officially recommended to the school board that Media Elementary School be temporarily housed at the Nativity BVM location next year.
Rose Tree Media School District Superintendent James Wigo formally recommended to the Board of School Directors Thursday that while Media Elementary School undergoes structural repairs next school year, the students and staff should be temporarily moved to Nativity BVM School, which is set to close in June.
The board will vote on the recommendation once there is a lease agreement between the school district and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which is projected to happen sometime in May, Board of School Directors President Linda Kinsler-Fox told Patch.
The school district announced in March that a 100-year-old roof truss at Media Elementary is in need of repairs. Although the building is currently safe and no one is in danger, the school must be closed for up to one school year in order for the repairs to be made.
The question of where to house the school has been an ongoing discussion since the announcement.
"We have explored every possible option with the two-pronged priority of trying to keep the school in Media Borough and keeping the 400 plus students together as a unit. I repeat, we have explored and weighed every available option and it is my recommendation to the board and this community that we aggressively pursue a lease with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for the soon to be closed Nativity BVM parish school building," Wigo said at Thursday's school board meeting.
The Nativity BVM community, however, has also seen its own share of ongoing drama.
In January, the Archdiocese's Blue Ribbon Commission originally recommended that Nativity merge with St. John's Chrysotom at the Media school location. However, after a one-sided appeal, the ruling was reversed in February and the merged Catholic schools will now be housed at St. John's Wallingford location.
The Nativity community has been overwhelmingly unhappy with this reversal and has focused blame toward the Archdiocese and the Nativity BVM Parish Pastor Rev. Edward Bell, as well as many opting out of registering their children at the new merged school, Mother of Providence.
At a Media Elementary Town Hall meeting earlier this week, Wigo explained to parents why Nativity BVM is the best option and explained that several other locations were considered, including the former Roosevelt School, St. Kevin's in Springfield, Barrall Field and splitting the students up amongst the district.
Below is Wigo's Superintendent's Report which he read at Thursday's meeting.
"As previously communicated to members of the Rose Tree Media School District community, back in January, serious structural problems were discovered in the roof of the Media Elementary School. After a careful inspection of the entire roof structure, we were advised that it was necessary to close four rooms on the 3rd floor. Three of these rooms were full-time classrooms and were originally thought to be the only rooms that might require repair.
As you know, upon further investigation, it was been discovered that the roof trusses in an entire wing of the building would have to be replaced. These roof structures are original to the building and are about 100 years old. We have received a final report from the structural engineer and it is his recommendation that the building be unoccupied during the remediation of the problem. As always and as it should be, student and staff safety is our No. 1 concern. That being said, we will be required to move the entire Media Elementary School operation to another location for up to one full academic year....that is the 2012-2013 academic year.
As I mentioned last month, the haunting question is, “where?” We have explored every possible option with the two-pronged priority of trying to keep the school in Media Borough and keeping the 400 plus students together as a unit. I repeat, we have explored and weighed every available option and it is my recommendation to the Board and this community that we aggressively pursue a lease with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for the soon to be closed Nativity BVM parish school building.
I have had the opportunity to meet with the parish committees to discuss and assess whether the parish school building would meet our short term leasing needs...without question, it would meet our needs. The parish has requested that the Archdiocese, as soon as possible, develop the terms of a lease with the District so that, if acceptable, we might move forward with the next steps for this unforeseen project of relocation. We should have the necessary documents for review in the very near future.
I have had the opportunity to meet with many of the Media Elementary School parents and, while there are many questions yet to be asked and answered, I want to publicly thank them for their support and willingness to work on behalf of their children."