State College Area School District votes on narrowing high school concepts
At their July 22, 2013, meeting, the State College Area School District Board of Directors voted on several motions involving the six high school project concepts. To attain updated high school facilities, the SCASD community will need to support the funding of the project through a spring 2014 voting referendum. The final decision on the future of State High rests with the voters in this community.
In the first motion, the Board unanimously voted to continue concepts B (two buildings on either side of Westerly Parkway, with renovations and additions to the current buildings connected by a walkway or bridge) and D (one new/renovated building with classrooms on the South side of Westerly Parkway, while retaining some portions of the North building) for further consideration in the project.
In a second motion, the Board unanimously voted to eliminate concepts A (2 new buildings on Westerly Parkway), C (renovations-only to the current buildings) and F (two new 9-12 schools), the three concepts garnering the least amount of support on the community survey. A third motion involved concept E (a new building on a new site). Concept E garnered 51% support in the survey; however, after considering the margin of error, support fell to below 49%. Forty-three percent of the community opposed this concept. After further Board discussion and deliberation, they voted unanimously to eliminate concept E from further consideration. Board vice president Amber Concepcion said, “Our priority is improving facilities for our students, and this concept (E) introduces too much uncertainty. Even in the best scenario, it lengthens the timeline for the project.”
Besides the narrowing of concepts, there were other important conclusions gained from the survey. When respondents of the survey were asked to rate the most important factors in evaluating the merits of a plan for the High School project, seventy-one percent selected “maximize student safety and security” as the number one consideration. Fifty-five percent of respondents believed it would be acceptable for the community to support an investment of up to $110 million in a referendum.
In the next step of the downselect process, the Board will compare the remaining concepts using an evaluation matrix. This matrix is comprised of 55 criteria developed by the Citizens Advisory Committees (CACs) and the Community Engagement Action Team (CEAT) for the State High project. The criteria fall into six categories: Safety and Security, Educational Model, Site and Location, Cost, Constructability, and Sustainability. Board members will assign their own weights to each category and will rate the remaining concepts with information from the building design team. A vote to select a final concept and budget is scheduled for the Board meeting on September 9, 2013.
The District will be scheduling community forums and conversations over the coming months. The SCASD administration will also bring forward their plan for improving the educational model on August 26. Community forums are scheduled on August 13 (regarding the remaining building concepts) and September 11 (regarding the educational model). Each of these forums will be held in the High School South auditorium at 7:00 p.m., with a guided tour of the High School facilities departing at 5:30 p.m.
Last Modified on January 7, 2014