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The first part of the Lebanon School District’s plan to address overcrowding could move from the drawing board to groundbreaking this fall if the district satisfies some final conditions imposed by the City of Lebanon Planning Commission.

The centerpiece of the plan will be a new middle school for 7th and 8th graders, adjacent to the existing Lebanon High School on South 8th Street.

Athletic fields now adjacent to Lebanon High will be relocated south of Wilhelm Avenue as part of the second phase of the project.

The overall project footprint covers the city plus parts of North Cornwall and South Lebanon townships, which means all three must approve the plan.

The two townships have already given their OKs. According to Public Works director Robin Getz, the city’s planning commission gave tentative approval in May, but imposed several conditions that the district will have to meet before final approval is given.

Superintendent Arthur Abrom told LebTown that the district hopes to advertise for middle school bids on July 1 and open them at the Aug. 15 school board meeting.

Plan shows new middle school south of existing Lebanon High (off map). Athletic fields will be relocated south of Wilhelm Avenue.

The district expects the new middle school to be paid entirely from its $23 million cash reserve, plus $15 million in federal funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERS). ESSERS was created by the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The second phase of the project will be financed through a bond issue. It will include the athletic field relocations and the conversion of the existing Lebanon Middle School on North 8th Street into an intermediate school for 5th and 6th graders. The city’s five elementary schools will house kindergartners through 4th graders.

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Chris Coyle

Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...