Williamsburg, a community of small, diversified businesses, is surrounded by picturesque dairy farms in an area rich with historical heritage.
Williamsburg Borough is located in northeast Blair County along the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River. The district also includes Woodbury Township, located to the south of the borough, and Catharine Township to the north. Altoona and Huntingdon are within 30 minutes driving distance. State College and the Pennsylvania State University are only 45 minutes away.
Originally settled in 1790 by Jacob Ake, Williamsburg was the first borough incorporated in Blair County. The town has a population of 1,254 (2010 census) while the school district population is 3740 (2000 census).
Historically, the Williamsburg area has been famous for its iron furnaces and quarries. Today, Cenveo, Cove Forge Behavioral Health Systems, and various farm services provide employment to area residents.
The area is well known for its excellent hunting and fishing. Piney Creek and Clover Creek attract fishermen from all over Pennsylvania. Canoe Creek State Park is located in adjoining Frankstown Township (10 minute drive). Raystown Lake is a short 30 minute drive east in Huntingdon County.
The School District
The Williamsburg Community School District encompasses all the area of Williamsburg Borough, Catharine Township, and Woodbury Township (64 sq. miles). The district is bounded by five (5) neighboring school districts- Tyrone, Spring Cove, and Hollidaysburg School Districts in Blair County and Juniata Valley and Huntingdon School Districts in Huntingdon County. The geographical size of the district makes bus transportation a necessity. The district contracts transportation services with Raystown Transit.
The district has two schools (elementary and junior-senior high school) that serve a student population of approximately 500 students.
The Administrative Staff includes the Superintendent, Lisa Murgas; Business Manager, Kalie Zabrosky; Assistant Business Manager, Melissia Lindemann; Superintendent's Secretary, Tina Bowmaster; Systems Administrator, Chris Evans - Inshore Technologies; Facilities Supervisor, Michael Mingle. The District employs a High School Principal, Michael Jones, and Elementary Principal, Jennifer Metzler, 36 teaching staff, and 18 support staff.
Some special features of the educational program include:
- Static and wireless computer labs in both buildings. (Student/Computer ratio is 3/1).
- Full video-conferencing equipment.
- An NCLB highly qualified staff. Elementary art, music, health and physical education are taught by certified teachers in those specialized areas.
- Membership in the Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center for students pursuing vocational careers beginning in grade 10.
- An excellent Agriculture program with a greenhouse.
- A full day kindergarten.
- A robust elementary Accelerated Readers program.
The budget for the 2015-16 school year is $7,295,352 of which 28% of the budgeted revenue is received from local sources, the district receives 68% of its funding from state sources and the remaining 4% of revenue comes from federal money. For the 2015-16 school year the real estate taxes are 125 mills, which reflects no tax increase from 2014-15. A mill of local real estate tax generates approximately $14,000.
The district elementary school was built in 1942 with subsequent additions built in 1955 and 1999. The elementary building was completely renovated in 1999. The original high school was built in 1918 with additions in 1937, 1942, 1964, and 1979. The high school building was also renovated in 1999. In 2012 the high school gymnasium received a facelift, including painted walls and ceilings and floor refinishing. For the 2013-2014 school year, the first floor of the high school was refinished and walls were repainted, including the auditorium.
The district offers a wide range of after school activities. Both boys’ and girls’ basketball programs have a strong tradition and a loyal community following. The district is the smallest in the state to offer interscholastic football. Other sports include baseball (boys) and volleyball and softball (girls). Cheerleading and weightlifting are also very popular among the student body.
The Bon Voyage (yearbook) and the Buccaneer (school newspaper) provide an opportunity for students to learn about journalism. The band presents music students with a chance for growth, fun, and travel. Other club and activities include chorus, Future Farmers of America, National Honor Society, Careers in Health, Speech Club, Library Club, and student government.