Manheim Township to hold public hearing on middle school project tonight

MANHEIM TOWNSHIP, Lancaster County — Manheim Township will hold a public hearing tonight to share information about a middle school construction project that has stirred debate in the community, according to a post on LancasterOnline.

The hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the middle school auditorium. It will include projected cost and design updates and will offer Manheim Township residents the chance to comment and ask questions.

School district personnel and representatives from the architectural design firm Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, and the financial consulting firm RBC Capital Markets will also be in attendance.

The project has split some Manheim Township residents since its approval in February. Those who favor the project say a new building is long overdue, while opponents have spoken out against the decision to add more debt.

The original plan was to replace the 50-year-old middle school with a two-story building for $70 million. That price tag has since been slashed to $62 million by the school board. The new construction budget would still require the district to take out a pair of $31 million bonds, which would be paid off by 2033.

 

Manheim Township already has about $115 million in net outstanding debt, according to RBC’s Ken Phillips.

The financing plan, Phillips said, will require a half-mill increase in taxes, phased in between 2018 and 2024.

By 2033, the owner of a $200,000 Manheim Township home will have paid nearly $1,200 in additional taxes solely for the middle school project.

Residents interested in speaking at the hearing had to register by Oct. 5, according to LancasterOnline.