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The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

North Penn holds community forum on renovations and referendum

Riley Roach
BACK TO SCHOOL: Superintendent Dr. Todd Bauer speaks with a room of NPSD residents as part of the tours of NPHS that took place prior to the Community Forum on December 5, 2023,

TOWAMENCIN – How will my taxes be affected by a “Yes” vote? Will I benefit from the renovation as a senior in the community? Is the renovation necessary? 

These are commonly asked questions about North Penn High School’s upcoming renovation and voter referedum. To tackle some of these questions, NPSD held tours and a community forum to inform the public about the fast-approaching vote. 

On Tuesday, December 5th,  administrators and representatives from the Schrader Group, North Penn’s architectural group, led tours throughout the building in order to explain some of the changes that both a “Yes” and “No” vote would cover. Additionally, the tours provided visuals on what the space would look like post-renovation. 

In addition to the architects and administrative staff, some teachers were in the building after school and talked to the community.

“The only room that has been changed since I went to school here is that one over there. It was only changed because it caught on fire,” Marching Band Assistant Director Sean Haddad explained.

Audience members at the NPHS Renovation and Referendum forum ask questions about the upcoming project. (Riley Roach)

The tours were very organized, but there was differences of opinion within the tour groups. The North Penn community is split right now with strong yes and no views for the referendum.

“You can tell when a building gets past the fifty-year mark. It starts to feel outdated,” a retired Upper Dublin teacher and North Penn community member said. “We went through a transitional period at Upper Dublin as well. I taught there. The transition was well worth the benefits that came with it.”

While there are many needs for the NPHS building, concerns about the tax increase above the Act I Index were brought to light during the tour.

“We have to decide if we want to spend all this money in three weeks and we are only getting rough plans of the building,” another North Penn community member stated during the tours.

With lots of questions unanswered, the tours concluded and the community attendees moved into the auditorium for the forum portion of the night. The forum was led by Superintendent Dr. Todd Bauer, and alongside him were Architect David Schrader and Chief Financial Officer Steve Skrocki. 

North Penn Television

“I am pleased to say that well over two hundred people took a tour this evening which is terrific and I would be willing to bet we have over three hundred people here in the audience. Thank you for being here,” Bauer said. 

After Bauer’s introduction, the plans for the reimagined high school were presented in a slideshow format. The intricate plans were explained in a way that was easy to follow and the audience was respectful for the entirety of the presentation. The Q&A followed the presentation.

The majority of the questions asked were regarding the financial aspect of the renovation, which is understandable because of the impact the renovation will have on taxes, specifically for the retired seniors that are concerned in the community.

Below is a summary of many of the issues raised during the audience Q and A. 

  • Amount of security necessary considering the “open space” layout of the renovation.
  • Availability of spots on sports teams for freshmen that will be brought to the high school. 
  • The risk of increasing interest rates as the school borrows money for the project.
  • Cost of energy for the “open space” layout.
  • Large surface area of glass in the plans which can be dangerous/distracting.
  • Taxpayers being involved in the decision making process as the school is in the phases of renovation.
  • Availability of space for ninth graders to learn comfortably.
  • Student maturity may not be high enough to have a college-level layout.
  • Teacher compensation while spending is being focused on a renovation.

If residents have questions or concerns, they can pose those questions via email to [email protected]. Additionally, resources are listed below including an interview moderated by Bob Gilmer about the referendum, the live stream Community Forum and Q&A, and the North Penn High School reimagined website.

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  • W

    Willa MaglandDec 8, 2023 at 8:21 am

    Very informative article. I’m not heavily decided either way, and definitely see both sides. Whichever way, it would be nice to visit in a few years to a more positive, less hostile environment. Specifically, the blaring, headache-inducing lights in so many of the older rooms, better ventilation, the larger, openable windows in ALL the classrooms, etc.