Lower Merion School District moves toward finding middle school site

Jim Melwert
June 12, 2018 - 1:37 pm
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LOWER MERION, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — As the Lower Merion School District continues to wrestle with growing enrollment, the school board has taken a step toward acquiring a site for a new middle school. 

The Lower Merion School Board voted Monday night in favor of purchasing the Islamic Foundation Center property at 1860 Montgomery Avenue, with some conditions, including that they able to acquire another property for athletic fields. That could include a part of Stoneleigh, the former Haas estate. 

District spokeswoman Amy Buckman says they recognize it’s not ideal. 

“It is a location that as of now could be acquired through eminent domain and might be a place where fields could be located in conjunction with building a middle school on the Islamic center site.”

The district says other properties, such as the Seminary and the Friends Central property, have been ruled out. 

Other conditions for the Islamic Foundation Center site include zoning considerations for things like parking lots and sidewalks, and assurance that the historic classifications of the buildings on the property are not changed to make it harder to tear them down. 

Buckman says if the buildings on the property are re-classified as Class One historic buildings, "the process you would have to go through to try to demolish them is very complicated and would add to the cost.”

The classification is to be discussed at a planning committee meeting Wednesday night.

Buckman says if a new property isn’t found, they would have to go forward with expanding current schools.