The state Department of Community and Economic Development, under the direction of the Commonwealth Financing Authority, today awarded two Alternative and Clean Energy grants totaling $3.8 million to the State College Area School District for potential elementary school projects.
The competitive ACE grants, which reimburse school construction projects by up to 10 percent, mean the district administration and the design firm of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates will proceed with the current timeline of the District-Wide Facilities Master Plan-Elementary Update.
At present, the district is pursuing an accelerated master planning update, months ahead of schedule, due to the grants. To take advantage of significant state funding and save local tax dollars, the administration moved quickly to apply for the grants before an April 1 deadline. Securing eligibility, however, necessitated the master planning update to start earlier than scheduled because the grants require significant project construction by June 2018.
The district designated Houserville and Radio Park as the grants’ beneficiaries because potential projects for the schools would derive the largest reimbursements. Both projects, which would be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification standards, are in the preliminary design phase.
Though the grants have been awarded, they do not commit the district to projects. Starting this spring, the SCASD Board of Directors has been considering several building and attendance area distribution options centered around Corl Street, Houserville, Lemont and Radio Park elementary schools. Final decisions will not be made until the fall, and community forums continue to explain the process and solicit public input. The next forum is at 7 p.m. July 18 at Ferguson Township Elementary School.