Quads due for change; Students skeptical

Students at Elizabethtown College residing in the Schreiber Quadrangle were recently notified about some important upcoming changes.  A memo from the Office of Campus Security was posted on the door of every Quad.  This memo stated that, similar to several residence and non-residence buildings on campus, a card swipe entry system would be installed soon.

A meeting was held on Wednesday, September 3rd at the Quad Commons to discuss these upcoming changes.  Though many of the student’s questions were answered at the meeting; the initial reaction to the memo, for some, was of skepticism.

“I think it is an unnecessary expense that could be used somewhere else on campus.  Residents at the Quads are happy with our current security system.  Is this another way to crack down at the Quads? Is there an ulterior motive?” Said Ashley Sweeney, a Senior and Quad resident.

To answer some of these questions Dale Boyer, Assistant Director of Campus Security, was asked to explain what this new lock system would entail.  Boyer mentioned that this card swipe system will be like the card swipe systems that are already in place at Founders and Brinser Residence Halls as well as the Vera Hackman Apartments.

“We have been struggling with “lost key” issues for years and have been trying to get card swipe access for all the residence halls on campus.  When a key is lost we then have to change the lock as well as charge students anywhere from $35 to $70.” Said Boyer.  He states “Using cards as a key access is more cost effective for the students and the school and is also a lot easier.”

Re-taking your picture and printing out a new I.D. card takes a lot less time than calling in the Campus Locksmith to make a new key as well as a new door lock.  The system that will be installed at the Quads will be “a lot more efficient” claims Boyer.  He goes on to say, “As far as ulterior motives go, safety is our only ulterior motive.  We’re here to look out for your safety and that’s what we plan to do by installing this card swipe access.”

This new entry system is a definite plan and will hopefully be completed before Christmas break.  For more questions Schreiber Quadrangle residents should contact campus security.

 

-Jamie Smith, Elizabethtown College Senior

image: www.flickr.com/photos/sandysphotoaday/376940682/

New Construction on Cedar: Students Upset, Administration Planning

As freshmen at Elizabethtown College arrive on campus this year, two new construction sites are there as well. On Cedar Street, by the Vera Hackman Apartments there used to be four houses that students lived in. These houses are now torn down.

The “farm house” and “ranch house” were two of these houses that were well known to many students. In the wake of the new construction many students are disheartened.

“The houses brought unity since we don’t have fraternities and sororities,” said Sarah Schreffler, a senior. “You could always go even if you didn’t know anyone, now the doors aren’t open.”

In fact the new construction zone is depressing to some to see as they walk to their classes. “It makes you sad when you see everything boarded up, I used to hang out there, now its torn down,” said senior Caitlin Schubert.

Despite students’distresses, the administration and campus security are looking forward to building new residences for students.  “Whatever the college can grab property wise, we try to, because we are land locked,” safety officer Dale Boyer said. 

But what about drinking and driving, isn’t this a safety issue? “Those were the closest places we could go to hang out,” said Kristin Conroy, a senior. Now it looks as though students of Elizabethtown have a deterence in their weekend plans.

Although the piece of land was acquired last year, the new plan for housing is not yet decided. “We are in the process of assessing the needs of the students,” said Dean Marianne Calenda. The school is working with Tom Hier who has a national firm called Biddism-Hier who specialize in residencial housing.  Focus groups will be held on October 17th and 18th for students’ inputs.

 

Author: Heather L. Edmonds

Destruction for Construction

Seven Elizabethtown College upperclassmen had to relocate after the end of last year, when the College purchased the property that the students live on.

What was done with this property?

Well, it is being knocked down and destroyed to make way for new dorms.

The Simmons Estate property, located adjacent from the Ober dorms across Cedar Street, was purchased halfway thru the ’07 – ’08 school year by the school. Last Spring the college decided that the students would not be having their leases renewed, and the houses would be knocked down. The 12-acre property would be turned into new dorms for the small town Campus.

The Seven students had to scrap to find other off-campus places to live in once the school let them know that they would not be allowed to live there during the ’08-’09 school year. The students were not able to live back on campus because of the college’s rule denying students who have moved off campus to move back into on-campus housing.

All of the seven students were able to find townhouses scattered throughout the small blue-collar town, but still, not being able to live at the “Estate” is a crushing blow to some of the students.

“The ‘Estate’ was a classic college house,” said senior Brad Whitcomb, who spent his junior year as a member of the “Estate”.   “It was awesome. Being able to wake up, go outside, and being right on campus was really key, but at the same time not having to abide by the school rules.” Whitcomb remarked.

Senior Nick Brooks, who spent two years at the “Estate”, looks back on it in a different way. “I remember all the good times I had there.” “You were constantly surrounded by your friends all the time. It was a great experience.”

But ask these students what its like to walk past the property now, and the mood quickly changes.

“Holy crap, its so depressing,” said Senior Dan Flaherty, Whitcomb’s roommate in ’07-’08. “I just walk past there on the way to class, and all that’s left are some support beams, and some concrete walls, it sucks. I don’t think the school knows what they took away from us.”

With the number of enrolling students rising every year at Elizabethtown, the school needed to eventually expand its property to allow space for more incoming students, and the Simmons property, long known as the center for off-campus partying and social gathering, was the closest and most accessible area to expand the college.

The location of the property to the school was ideal for upperclassmen. Within walking distance of the cafeteria and most dorms and classrooms, but still outside of the school’s jurisdiction. The destruction of the property will mean a huge loss for the social community of off-campus students, as it was almost always active on weekend nights, serving host to numerous different groups of students. 

However, in a small residential neighborhood like Elizabethtown, the college had little choice but to purchase the property, because of the lack of other possible areas to expand to.

As an up-and-coming liberal arts school in the area, Elizabethtown needed to expand, to make the school accessible to more students, and although these seven students might be upset now, they will ultimately

Other Articles About “Estate” Property:

Vandalism Strikes Simons Farm Property 

Farmhouse Legacy Tarnished

 

Letter to Lancaster County Planning Commission about Bear Creek Proposal

As concerned citizens from Elizabethtown Borough, Mount Joy Township, and other surrounding municipalities, we respectively submit this document outlining our concerns regarding the Bear Creek Intermediate School proposal.

We recognize the need for additional classroom space as well as the difficulties associated with a project of this size.  We believe Lancaster County’s Long Range Transportation Plan (referred to simply as the Charter for Change) should be a guiding document in such complex projects.  Interestingly, the Bear Creek proposal appears to contradict many of the principles in the Charter for Change.  We request you consider these concerns as you review the proposal submitted by the school district.

  1. The proposed school has numerous transportation challenges
    • The proposed location is not easily accessible for foot and bike traffic.  Even the closest neighborhoods cannot walk or bike due to narrow roads and the lack of sidewalks. To make for a more “walkable” school, the district has proposed a walking path connecting High Street with the Bear Creek location.  Unfortunately, this proposed path winds through an isolated, wooded area making it impractical for children 9 to 11 years old.
    • The proposed location is not easily accessible for auto traffic.  Sheaffer Road (and many of the surrounding artillery roads) is rural and not suitable for the increased car and bus traffic a school of this size will require.  Because of its limited access, this school site is not easily accessible by car from many parts of the surrounding community. 
    • The school district could increase accessibility by building an access road to East High Street.  This would alleviate traffic on the more rural roads and make the school more accessible for emergency vehicles, parents, and staff.  Elizabethtown Borough also supports the construction of such an access road.  However, the school district opposes the road, claiming it will negatively affect its athletic facilities master plan.  This plan, however, shows that such a road can be constructed with minimal impact.
    • The district could also increase accessibility (as well as save on transportation and fuel costs) by placing the school on district-owned land next to East High Elementary rather than isolating it from the main school campus.
  2. The proposed school has numerous infrastructural challenges
    • The rural roads accessing the school site will need significant improvements to handle the car traffic a school this size will require.  The school district plans to improve Sheaffer Road from the school entrance to Ridge Road.  No other improvements are slated. 
    • The sidewalks surrounding this school are unsuitable for any foot traffic.  Only very recently (June 2008) did the district announce the construction of one sidewalk from the corner of Sheaffer Road to Violet’s Path (approximately 100 yards).  No other sidewalks exist within the traffic study area.
    • By making the new school more accessible to the existing campus (either by locating the school on High Street or by building an access road connecting to High Street), the new school would share much of the existing infrastructure.
  3. The proposed school deserves and requires inter-municipal cooperation
    • Both Elizabethtown Borough and Mount Joy Township have requested greater cooperation with the school district regarding this proposal. Elizabethtown Borough strongly suggested the district place the new school on district-owned land next to East High Elementary.  Despite the borough’s serious concerns with the Bear Creek location, the district continues with its plans.  Since this proposed school will affect the community for years to come, it needs to be thoroughly vetted by both citizens and elected officials.  In short, it needs the “blessing” of the local municipalities.
  4. The proposed school deserves and requires thorough planning
    • The school district states that this project began in 2005 and that it has been well publicized.  While the “growth” planning began in 2005, the school district did not announce this specific plan for Bear Creek Intermediate School until July 2007.  Prior to that time, the district was planning to renovate East High Street Elementary and use that building as an intermediate school.  Additionally, a conservation center was to be built in Bear Creek wetlands that will now house the intermediate school. 
    • The traffic study did not include all roads within a 1-mile radius.  Instead, it covered only those roads within Mount Joy Township boundaries.  There are intersections of serious concern (for example, Chestnut Street and College Avenue, Mount Joy Street and College Avenue, Chestnut Street and Park Street) that were not included in the study.  The traffic study also failed to take into account traffic associated with Elizabethtown College.
    • The district has only very recently (June 2008) made public their “Athletic Facilities Master Plan.”  The district explains that the Bear Creek Project is integrally tied to the athletics plan.  If this is true, both deserve more reflection and input than the proposed construction timetable allows.
    • Placing the school along High Street on district-owned land seems to be a more logical move when considering transportation, infrastructure, and municipality desires.  It appears that the district, when planning its future land-use options, does not want to sacrifice any of its extracurricular wants (athletic facilities) for its curricular needs (classrooms).

We appreciate your taking time to consider the impact this school will have on Elizabethtown Borough, Mount Joy Township and the surrounding municipalities.  We believe that this project can be the “flagship project” in implementing the Charter for Change. 


[1] According to Charter for Change, “existing patterns of travel and land use are not sustainable in the long term—we will have to change our travel habits out of practical necessity.”  The plan “supports changes in school sitting requirements at the state level to locate schools in areas that can be reached by bicycling and walking.”  It calls for “compact urban forms [to] promote efficient use of land and efficient transportation.”  It also suggests “land use planning should promote multimodal transportation.”  Desired characteristics for transportation include:  “roadways [that] are context-sensitive and upgraded with trees and landscaping; transportation systems [with which] environmental impacts are minimized; [and] systems [which] conserve land, water, historic, and cultural resources, and encourages reduced energy consumption.”  See Charter for Change.

[2] See the district’s Campus Athletic Facilities Study on the EASD school web site for information regarding this walking path.  The pathway is marked with a dashed line.

[3] See the district’s Campus Athletic Facilities Study on the EASD school web site

[4] The Charter for Change warns us that “though improvement needs are increasing, tax revenues to address those needs are threatened by a slowing economy and competing demands on limited resources.”  See Charter for Change.

[5] See Posts in editorials on this site for letters from Elizabethtown Borough and Mount Joy Township.

[6] The Charter for Change calls on “government and other organizations [to work] together to achieve mutual transportation goals.”  See Charter for Change.

EASD Updates FAQs on Bear Creek Project

Visit the Elizabethtown Area School District website to access “Frequently Asked Questions” on the district’s Bear Creek Intermediate Elementary School project. The FAQs were updated on June 5, 2008 to include information on walkable schools, why not the fairgrounds and the impact the project will have on taxes.

The district developed the FAQs to help community members better understand the proposal. The FAQs contain answers to a wide variety of questions including the need for the school, timeline for the project, the benefits of the grade level configuration, why the location was selected, the fiscal implications of the project and much more. To access the FAQs, click on the link below or visit the website at www.etownschools.org:

Bear Creek FAQs (updated)

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania Citizen Journalism