NORTHAMPTON TOWNSHIP >> The Council Rock School District will hold a public informational session on Thursday, November 7 to discuss its proposed CR STAR Center in Northampton Township.
The special public forum is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Chancellor Center in Newtown Borough.
The district is proposing to build the 25,591 square foot CR STAR Center on the south side of the 38 acre former Richboro Middle School middle school campus across from the Free Library of Northampton Township.
The proposed STAR Center (an acronym for Sloan, Twilight, Achieve, Richboro) would house the district’s Sloan School, Twilight and Achieve programs.
Serving an average of 35 students annually, the ACHIEVE program teaches students with disabilities social independence through engaging pre-vocational experiences. The program helps learners ages 18-21 continue to acquire essential skills that enable them to transition to the adult world.
The Sloan School serves approximately 35 students annually. An extension of Council Rock North and South High Schools, Sloan is designed as a non-traditional school setting for students who may struggle with anxiety, attendance, credit deficiencies, and/or adjusting to a large school population.
Council Rock’s Twilight program is designed to meet the educational needs of students who require instruction outside of the traditional school day. Specializing in preparing students to re-enter their home school after policy violations or extended absences, Twilight faculty focus on maintaining academic skills and developing social and behavioral strategies for successful re-integration to the traditional school setting.
Council Rock Twilight operates Monday through Thursday between 2 and 5 p.m. All Twilight program students are required to use Council Rock transportation to and from school.
The Nov. 7 forum will afford attendees the opportunity to learn more about the programs and for the school board and administration to hear public comment. The forum also be televised for those who are unable to attend.
“I have heard some misconceptions about these three programs in recent weeks,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Fraser. “Accordingly, we have developed a high-level factual document about these programs. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with these programs if you are not yet familiar; they serve as shining examples of public education serving the needs of all of its community’s valued youth,” said Fraser. “I am tremendously proud of the positive impact these three programs have had on countless CR students over many years.”
The first public discussions of the project were held this past spring as part of the district’s long-term capital plan. It has been publicly discussed several times since then at various school board meetings, most recently at the Oct. 17 school board meeting as part of the Superintendent Report.
The administration said combining the three programs under one roof and on school district property would be "fiscally responsible" and "educationally right" for the district and its students.
The district currently leases space for the three programs at the Law School Admissions Council building in Newtown Township at a cost of $287,000 a year. However, that lease is not guaranteed from year to year and subject to expire with only a six-month notice.
In addition, district administrators said the building is aging and has inadequate spacing for the programs, which the district is mandated under federal regulations to provide.
The proposed CR STAR Center is scheduled for discussion at the Northampton Township Zoning Hearing Board meeting on Monday, Nov. 11 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Northampton. Township Municipal Building, 55 Township Road.
The planning commission will also be considering the plans when it meets on Tuesday, Nov. 12 beginning at 7:30 p.m., also at the municipal building.
The zoning board and planning commission will also hear plans by the school district to install a turf field at Council Rock High School South along the east side of Holland Road, 400 feet north of its intersection with Upper Holland and Middle Holland Roads.
In addition to the turf field, the plan proposes three 100 square foot ticket booths, future bleachers, lighting, and a future 2,875 square foot building for concessions, restrooms, team rooms, and storage.