• Elementary School Projects

     

    Elementary school project choices

    On Nov. 14, 2016, the State College Area School District Board of Directors chose projects for updating Corl Street, Houserville and Radio Park elementary schools. The Board voted:

    • Unanimously for an addition/renovation project for Corl Street with three classrooms per grade at an estimated cost of $15.15 million.
    • By an 8-1 vote for a new construction project for Houserville with three classrooms per grade, at an estimated cost of $16.65 million. Lemont Elementary, for grades K-2, will close and merge with Houserville.
    • By a 7-1 vote, with one board member abstaining, for an addition/renovation project for Radio Park with three classrooms per grade, at an estimated cost of $16.02 million.
    • Unanimously for a Radio Park bid alternate addition/renovation project with four classrooms per grade, at an estimated cost of $17.24 million.

     

    With the Board’s choices, the architectural firm of Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates now can move to the design development phase. During this phase, the team will refine the project designs and site layouts further based on input from district staff and municipal officials.

    The design stage will include the customary 30, 60 and 90 percent reviews, as well as opportunities for the community and the Board to provide feedback, before a competitive bid process.

    The goal is to approve designs on Sept. 25, 2017 and start construction later that fall. In order to receive state grant funds, the Houserville and Radio Park projects must be completed by June 2019. Though the district plans to design and build the Corl Street addition/renovation project simultaneously, the project is not bound to the same timelines as Houserville and Radio Park.


    Summary of the Elementary School Projects Plan

     
    In the spring of 2016, the State College Area School District administration began pursuing a District-Wide Facilities Master Plan update focused on elementary schools. This accelerated the previous calendar for updating the 2014 DWFMP.
     
    Possible renovations and/or new construction were considered for Houserville, Radio Park and Corl Street schools. Consolidating Lemont Elementary with Houserville, an option mentioned in past master plans going back to 1999, was an option. The master plan update included a demographic analysis of the district’s enrollment areas and community discussion meetings before the SCASD Board of Directors makes final decisions.
     
    Why in 2016?
     
    ● The district could take advantage of significant state funding that would save money for local taxpayers.
     
    ○ The district applied for state Department of Community and Economic Development grants that could reimburse school projects by 10 percent, up to $2 million. April 1 was the deadline to apply. On July 1, at the start of the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the state awarded the district $3.8 million in grants. The grants require substantial project construction by June 2019, or three fiscal years after they are awarded. In accordance with the grant requirements, the district identified Houserville and Radio Park elementary schools on the applications as possible renovation and/or new construction projects. The schools were chosen because they project to be the most costly projects out of the district elementary schools in need of upgrades, and thus would derive the most value from the grant. The grants did not obligate the district to undertake the projects; if the district had not proceeded with the projects, it would have returned the grant funds.
     
    ○ In May, the state enacted a moratorium on PlanCon reimbursement for new projects. To be eligible for future funding, the district submitted PlanCon Parts A and B for elementary school projects — the project justifications — by the May 15 deadline. The applications include maximum estimates for Houserville, Radio Park and Corl Street to provide the greatest flexibility; the Board isn’t locked into costs and can modify designs. Nor is the district obligated to proceed with the proposed projects. The PlanCon applications were expected to protect about $2.2 million to $2.4 million in potential state reimbursement for two projects.
     
    ● District elementary schools differ in age, size and resources. As per previous master plans, the district thinks students deserve equal facilities for learning.
     
    Who is leading the update?
     
    Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates and Massaro Construction Management Services, the State High Project team leaders, will conduct the master plan update, including preparing potential designs for the selected schools. The firms were chosen because of their cost-efficient work with the State High Project, their knowledge of and relationship with the district, and their track record statewide with district master planning and school construction. The compressed master plan timeline did not allow sufficient time for a Request for Proposal (RFP) process for design firms; however, an RFP was not required, and the appointments were in line with district practices.
     
    ● Working with CRA, the DecisionInsite firm prepared a demographic analysis of the district, using data from geographic information system (GIS) mapping, the district and municipalities to assess enrollment. The analysis was used to help assess the elementary school projects.
     
    ● CRA’s initial floor and site plans for each of the selected schools represented placeholders for the first PlanCon form submissions and springboards for discussion. During the design process, CRA is refining plans and design features based on school and community feedback.
     
    Community forums
     
    Public feedback meetings were scheduled at 7 p.m. at:
    May 25 at Corl Street Elementary School
    May 31 at Radio Park Elementary School
    June 1 at Houserville Elementary School
    June 16 at Mount Nittany Middle School
    July 18 at Ferguson Township Elementary
    September 19 at Mount Nittany Middle School
    October 17 at Mount Nittany Middle School
     
    ● Design options weree developed over the summer in anticipation of public meetings during September and October.
    ● Design team members talked with Easterly Parkway, Ferguson Township, Gray’s Woods, Mount Nittany and Park Forest teachers and administrators for “lessons learned” from the buildings.
    ● The design process, including 30, 60 and 90 percent reviews, will occur from November 2016 to September 2017. Construction would begin later that fall and last 16 months.
     
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Last Modified on June 27, 2017