Highlights from the Colonial School District’s Community Coffee Hour

The Colonial School District held its most recent Colonial Community Coffee Hour on January 31st. During the event, attendees were able to learn about the renovations at the schools, the Foundation and advocacy. Here are the highlights of the information shared:

Plymouth Whitemarsh High School

  • The renovations focus on the remaining classrooms, now that the major projects are largely complete.
  • The main entrance will be moving to the back of the building temporarily in the spring to accommodate upgrades to the front entrance.
  • Plans for a West Gym are in the final approval stages, which would bring PWHS basketball and wrestling back to the high school and offer additional practice, performance and game space for sports, indoor guard and drum line, the Adult Evening School and more.
  • The bulk of the renovations should be complete by September 2017, with construction of the West Gym to be completed in late 2017 or early 2018.
  • PWHS has taken advantage of the renovations to offer students internships. Architect Joe Messmer talked about two students who interned with him and the group watched a video featuring PWHS Class of 2016’s Michael Palermo who spoke about his internship with the electricians and how that led to full-time employment in the industry after high school.
  • Click here to watch a video on the energy saving initiatives that are being incorporated into the PWHS renovations.
  • Click here to watch a video that highlights the new cafeteria at the high school, as well as Food Service’s efforts district-wide.

Plymouth Elementary/Ridge Park Elementary

  • A recently completed enrollment study shows 1,000 more students in the District by 2026.
  • Colonial will break ground this spring on additions at both schools.
  • Plymouth Elementary School will gain four new full-size classrooms, an elevator, renovations to the cafeteria and expansion of the gym.
  • Ridge Park Elementary School will gain four new full-size classrooms, four small-group work rooms, renovations to the Library Media Center and a moveable partition wall between the cafeteria and gym.
  • Additionally, Ridge Park, Plymouth and Whitemarsh elementary schools will all receive air conditioning this summer.
  • The additions and air conditioning installation should be complete by fall 2017.


  • Dr. MaryEllen Gorodetzer noted that Pennsylvania legislators are currently proposing legislation that would change how schools are funded. The proposal would change the funding model from property taxes to a combination of sales and income taxes. The proposal includes putting a sales tax on food and clothing.
  • Colonial maintains the third lowest tax burden in Montgomery County, because of the business and retail properties in the District, and the proposed change would have a negative effect on what Colonial would be able to offer.
  • School Board Members Susan Moore and Cathy Peduzzi mentioned that our legislators understand our concerns and suggested that people reach out to friends and family across the state to talk to their legislators about the issue.


  • Denise Marks, the new Director of Development and Curriculum Supervisor for Career Pathways, School Board Member Alan Tabachnick and Retired Teacher Annette Swartz were also on hand representing the Colonial School District Education Foundation. Displays showcased the current funding initiatives of STEAM and AVID, as well as how people can leave their legacy at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School through buying a paver, glass panel or other item. Click here to visit the PW Renovation Shop.
  • For more information on the Foundation, click here.

The district’s next coffee hour will focus on innovative students projects and student success in the district. It will be held on Tuesday, April 25th at 9:30 a.m. in the Colonial School District Office General Meeting Room, on the first floor of Colonial Elementary School.