Bear Creek Community Charter School has a history dating back to Civil War Brigadier General Paul Ambrose Oliver whose heirs donated the land for the school in 1929. The original Oliver School was a traditional one-room school house, constructed as a project of the Works Progress Administration (instituted by presidential executive order under the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of April 1935, to generate public jobs for the unemployed).
Currently, Bear Creek Community Charter School operates out of the original school and additional outdated school buildings along a busy highway. Intended for an enrollment of 240, the expanding school now has an enrollment of over 400 with a waiting list of over 100. USDA Rural Development recently announced Community Facilities Program Loan funding of almost $12 million for the construction of a new two-story 63,000 sq. ft. public charter school building. The new school will meet the demand for innovative educational opportunities, including environmental education. Ecology and environmental science is woven into the academic fabric of the school, and each student receives dedicated instructional time specific for environmental education. Students engage in hands-on learning opportunities, participate in field-work (work outdoors), and actively participate in school-wide environmental leadership opportunities. Located on a 97-acre tract, the preliminary plans for the school grounds include an outdoor classroom, interpretive trail, rain gardens, educational stations, and soccer and softball fields. Construction is expected to be completed by the summer of 2015.
In addition to the new school funding in Luzerne County, USDA also recently granted funds for the purchase of a K-9 police vehicle in Pittston City through the Community Facilities Grant Program. The newly purchased police vehicle is equipped with a harness to transport a K-9 who is currently in training.
The projects provide a significant benefit to rural Luzerne County. The school is providing innovative educational opportunities for young families and the police vehicle is addressing public safety in a city that is in the midst of a downtown revitalization project.