Bucks County Herald

Faith Christian School considers old Milford School purchase

BARRIE-JOHN MURPHY

Faith Christian Academy is one of several parties interested in purchasing the former Milford Middle School and Tohickon Valley Elementary properties.

The Upper Bucks institution’s Director of Finance, Henry Thompson, told the Herald on Monday that the school had experienced “significant enrollment growth” and was seeking a long-term base.

It currently has more than 400 K-12 students, drawn mainly from the Quakertown and Pennridge areas.

Faith Christian sent a non-binding letter of intent to Quakertown community district in July, and the school board is expected to take up the matter when it convenes this month.

Board members repeatedly debated last school year whether to hold on to the Allentown Road property and see it appreciate in value or demolish the middle school. However, that would mean a significant financial hit of $582,000, with the only consolation being a charter school would not be able to take over the middle school building and siphon away students and money from the district.

Complicating matters is next year’s $29 million renovation project at Neidig Elementary, where many parents, some staff members, and the project construction manager, Jamie Lynch of D’Huy Engineering, have backed a proposal to move students to Tohickon Valley Elementary to avoid the significant disruption the project will cause.

But according to district spokesman Gary Weckselblatt, if the purchase is approved, Faith Christian would be willing to lease the Tohickon Valley back to the district free of charge should the board vote this month to move the 400-plus Neidig students.

In a presentation to the community in July, D’Huy maintained leaving the school vacant would cut the construction time by about seven months, eliminate the need for temporary buildings, partitions and other infrastructure, ultimately reducing costs by over a million dollars.

Surveys of Neidig parents and staff members show a minority in favor of keeping students at the school during construction. Those who want to send students to Tohickon Valley remain split, with some opting for just one school year and others for the entire duration of the project.

Parents and teachers admit they don’t want to deal with the safety issues, noise, dust and distractions the project will bring but are uneasy about sending students on long bus rides to a school some feel uncomfortable with.

“You (the school board) closed TV down because it was too much to fix and it wasn’t safe for the kids … so why would I want my kids shipped across town to go to that school,” one parent commented.




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