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LMSD Paying $2.5M for Land in Penn Valley, Board Announces

Next month, officials will discuss possible plans for developing the church property to accommodate growing Welsh Valley Middle School, the superintendent said.

Lower Merion School District has agreed to spend $2.5 million on a closed Catholic church property next to in Penn Valley, school officials said at Monday's Board of School Directors meeting.

The board had Superintendent Chris McGinley to close a deal on the 7.2-acre St. Justin Martyr Church property at 1200 Hagys Ford Road. However, with the deal not complete, no price was disclosed then.

The property was most recently assessed for tax purposes in 1997, at a value of $2,062,750, according to county records.

School district solicitor Kenneth Roos said closing was set for Sept. 5, but  in Gladwyne, which merged with St. Justin in 2009, will likely not have to vacate until the end of January 2013.

McGinley called the parcel the only school-adjacent land in the township that's viable for expansion in a growing school district.

"We'll be spending time beginning in September outlining a plan for the expected growth in enrollment," the superintendent said at the board meeting. "This gives us an option for Welsh Valley."

A recent enrollment study projected Welsh Valley to grow from 863 students last year to 1,148 students in 2017-2018.

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