Mastery Charter Schools took over operations of Franklin Smedley School this year, and now the company wants to add a gym, more classrooms and air conditioning as it expands the school to make room for about 100 more pupils.
The work at the building on the 1700 block of Bridge St. requires some zoning variances. Members of the Frankford Civic Association voted to support the charter school company during a special meeting last week at Aria Health’s Frankford campus.
Like many Northeast civic associations, the Frankford group had no meetings scheduled for July or August, but then it slated the special session on July 27 to consider several issues that had come up, said zoning officer Pete Specos.
The Frankford Civic Association requires members to have paid their dues and to have attended at least four of the organization’s last six meetings to be eligible to vote. On July 27, eight members were eligible to vote.
They backed local grocer John Morrison’s application for a zoning variance that would allow him to sell takeout food at 4677 Frankford Ave. Specos said the store wouldn’t have a takeout window. Members also voted not to oppose a similar application for a store at 2056 Bridge St.
They voted to oppose plans to expand a day-care facility operated at 5108 Torresdale Ave. They also voted not to support a variance application to permit a check-cashing business at 4947 Frankford Ave.
Board member Steve McClintock abstained from voting on a variance to permit him to sell auto parts at his business, Torresdale Motors, at 1954 Church St. The other members voted to support his variance application.
Joseph Ferguson, Mastery’s chief operating officer, said Smedley has about 600 pupils in kindergarten through fifth grade. Mastery, in partnership with the school district, wants to add sixth grade. A two-story gym will be built on the rear of the existing building and four classrooms will be built on top of the gym, Ferguson said.
A zoning variance is needed because the building would be higher than current code allows.
There will be trailers on the property in the fall to accommodate pupils. Specos said an elevator and ramps will be installed. Air conditioning also will be added.
Ferguson said he is hoping the work will be completed by spring.
Also at last week’s meeting, treasurer Tim Wisniewski announced the online Frankford Gazette had started a print version and distributed copies to members.
The civic association will conduct another special session at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18, in the second-floor meeting room of Aria Health’s Frankford campus, 4900 Frankford Ave. ••
Contact John Loftus at 215-354-3110 or at firstname.lastname@example.org