Elementary Education in Bendersville

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Elementary Education in Bendersville

 

 

History of Elementary Education in the Bendersville Area

 

 

The earliest school in what is now Menallen Township was built near the present Dal-Tile plant about 1786. This building was torn down in 1836 after classes moved to the Fairmount School located between Bendersville and Flora Dale.

During the 1840's, a two-room brick school building on North Main Street was opened. Records show that in 1903, 54 students were enrolled there. This building was the oldest school still in use when the Upper Adams School District Jointure was formed in 1947. It continued to be used as an elementary school through the end of 1950. This brick building still stands today and has been converted into an apartment house.

On June 5, 1947, the six school boards of Arendtsville, Bendersville, and Biglerville boroughs and Butler, Menallen and Tyrone townships voted unanimously to become the Upper Adams School District Jointure. That fall, two room schools were operating at Bendersville, Wenksville, and Locust Grove, with three grades to each room. Two years later in the fall of 1949, the Wenksville School was closed and elementary classes reorganized. Grades 1 & 2 met at the Old Bendersville School, Grades 3 & 4 at the Locust Grove School and Grades 5 & 6 at the Bendersville Community Hall. Total enrollment was approximately 230 students. During this period, students were bussed daily to Arendtsville and Biglerville for lunch.

The Upper Adams School Board began seeking land to build a new elementary school for Bendersville. In November 1949, a 4.5-acre site of orchard land at the top of Rampike Hill was purchased from Mr. Glenn Etter for the planned eight-room unit. The following March, McCoy Brothers of Carlisle was awarded the building contract for a total cost of $139,336.00. Construction began, with the building ready for occupancy in January 1951.

That spring, the Bendersville Borough Council purchased additional land adjoining the elementary site and deeded it over to the Joint Board. This piece of ground runs from the current Bendersville Post Office to the school's front driveway area. It is now the site of Bendersville Elementary School's physical fitness trail, which was installed during the 1982-83 school year in dedication to principal Larry Kennedy.

The Bendersville Elementary PTA was formed in 1951 with 19 charter members and Virginia Pitzer as its first president. This PTA is the oldest continuous PTA in the Upper Adams School District and has continued its fine tradition of service to the school throughout the years. In May 1987, the organization celebrated its 35th Anniversary.

Bendersville Elementary School's library was established in 1966 when a portable room unit was put in place and stocked for the beginning of the fall term. This portable unit has also served over the years as an art/music room.

The newly renovated building with its new addition has approximately doubled in size. The building project began in September 1988, at a total cost of $2.3 million. Occupancy of the new building took place on May 5, 1989.

BENDERSVILLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS:

Wilson D. Wenk 1951-67
Larry K. Kennedy 1967-86
Gayle G. Griffie 1986-89
Ronald G. Ebbert 1989-2006
Ann L. Wolfe 2006-Present