An important facet of the debate over closure versus renovation of Corl Street Elementary is the potential for this decision to set the tone for development in the area for generations to come.
The conversation is a timely one, as communities nationwide struggle with the unforeseen consequences of urban, suburban and small-town sprawl.
Renovation of Corl Street offers a chance for the district to support the sustainable principles of smart growth and new urbanism, philosophies that support walkable neighborhoods and tight-knit communities while reducing environmental impact and traffic congestion.
Reinvesting in existing schools is ultimately less costly to taxpayers, and will meet the district’s attendance needs so it can continue to provide superb educations to kids across the district.
The closure of Corl Street would push development farther out of town, further encroaching upon green spaces and farmland.
SCASD wields significant power here: will the district close Corl Street, discourage families from settling in the borough, thus encouraging sprawling development into the surrounding forests and working farms? Or will it choose to grow smarter by renovating the school and keeping it open, thus bolstering the local economy and contributing to the positive development that makes State College special?
Let’s hope the district chooses smart growth.
Ann Tarantino, State College