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School Board Examines Educational Specifications and High School Renovation Plans

by on October 22, 2013 7:00 AM

The State College School Board discussed various aspects of the high school project at a work session Monday night, from educational specifications to the exact design of the new school.

Scott DeShong, State College high School Principal, updated the board about how the educational specifications will fit within the actual physical layout of the new school.

The educational specifications will help foster the learning communities within the school. The five different learning communities include ninth graders, business and communications, health and human services, arts and humanities and STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

DeShong says he is currently working to make sure that there are rooms in the new building specifically to be used for small group discussion. Currently, many teachers have large rooms for their lectures but are required to find rooms as they are available for smaller group work.

"There are five large group instruction rooms included in the educational specifications in new high school," DeShong says. "The spaces need to be used in a dynamic way because of the collaboration time built in for teachers in these learning communities."

One of the points of the new high school, DeShong says, is to utilize the space they will have and not waste that space.

Some school board members, including Jim Leous, are concerned that because the school district will implement the educational specifications before the new high school is finished, the educational model won't work.

The school board also took a look at  differences between two proposed renovation plans for the high school.

The board voted last month to approve major renovations to the south building. That way all core classes can all be held on the same side of the street. Portions of the north building will still be available for student and community use.

Although no action was taken last night, Director of the Office of Physical Plant for the State College School District Ed Poprik says the board still has to agree on details of the work. The architects need input so they can continue with the design process. That includes concept design, space descriptions and number of classrooms and square footage.

One redesign plan has a more westward expansion of the south building, while option two incorporates a more crescent shape.

Board member Jim Pawelczyk says the second plan fits better within the educational model. The second plan has only three stories, while the first has four.

"It really becomes an issue of a level of complexity [with the first plan]," Pawelczyk says. "Option two is a much stronger representation of the learning community concept."

On Dec. 2 the board hopes to approve the final design of the building, including floor plans that reveal the facilities "new look".

There will be a community forum on the plans at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at the State College High School.

Related Stories:

State College School Board Sees Initial High School Renovation Plans

State College School Board Approves High School Renovation Project: $115 Million Cap Set



Adam Lidgett is a freelance reporter who has covered news and feature stories in State College and Centre County.
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