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Parkdale in need of classrooms

East Aurora's Parkdale Primary School needs up to eight new classrooms if it is to remain a primary building -- possibly with full-day kindergarten -- in a reconfigured district, school officials said.

While attention has shifted toward the district's expected repurchase of the former Southside School -- potentially to be used as a middle school -- many parents and school officials say that Parkdale cannot be forgotten.

District voters would have the final say on buying Southside and also whether the district buys 5 acres of Fisher-Price land adjacent to Parkdale through eminent domain.

"I'm OK as long as there's equity across the board" for each building, said Parkdale Principal Colleen Klimchuck. "The focus on early childhood and primary is huge for us. . . . My preference is to remain a primary kindergarten through second-grade school and have all the specialists together."

For several months, Parkdale, a kindergarten through second-grade building, has been at the center of School Board debate on grade level configurations for it as well as the combined Main Street Elementary/Middle School and now Southside School.

The board may decide which grades would be assigned to which schools when it meets today.

Even if Parkdale remains a primary school, a small addition is needed, the district's architect has said.

Parkdale has 391 pupils and has already converted some storage and shower space into areas for support staff teaching children. In some cases, stairwells and the auditorium are used to teach small groups of children.

"There's not an ounce of space, other than the basement, that is not used," Klimchuck said. "There's no more storage space."

District concerns extend beyond the current overcrowding to the state's expected mandate for all-day kindergarten. That requirement would mean Parkdale would need up to eight new classrooms, along with a gymnasium.

The school's existing gym now doubles as a cafeteria, with tables and benches that pull out from the walls and date to the 1950s.

e-mail: krobinson@buffnews.com

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