State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

State College Area School Board Talks Architect Contract, Education Planner

by on August 28, 2012 6:00 AM

On the eve of the first day of the State College Area School District's 2012-13 year, the Board of Directors met for their regular meeting to discuss future projects and hear status updates. 

Ed Poprik, Director of the Office of Physical Plant, presented a draft of the contract with the company that could become State High's architect. Monday night's meeting was informational only and open for discussion. A final draft wil be presented to the board for final approval at a later date.

Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, a Mechanicsburg-based architectural firm, would take on the proposed projects for State High, a building long having needed necessary renovations.

All projects are at the discretion of the board and are approved and assigned by the board of directors. 

Some of the focus during the discussion and information session of the board's meeting regarded the importance of the district's hiring of an Educational Planner. 

Assistant Superintendent Mike Hardy explained the selection process to the board and said three firms completed Educational Planner presentations and interviews. Each firm was selected after their requests for proposals were reviewed and moved to the next phase.

The three firms interviewed were Brain Spaces, Inc., Frank Locker Educational Planning and Fanning Howey. 

In his presentation to the board, Hardy laid out a timeline as follows: 

"Given the vast amount of information that has been submitted via request for proposals and the interview process, we believe it is in the best interest of the district that we allocate additional time to allow all members of both interview teams to fully process and analyze the information presented.

"We are in the process of checking references for all potential firms. Once we have thoroughly reviewed all the information and gathered additional feedback from the interview teams, we will bring forward a recommendation to the Board." 

An Educational Planner is integral to the positive forward movement of the renovation projects the district could take on because someone in that position will integrate his or her research and experience with the needs of the school and what's best for the students that will lend to a "successful product that will best serve the needs to the community," Hardy said. 

With an Educational Planner on board, there will be no idea left unconsidered. 

The Educational Planner will come equipped with three crucial skill sets, Hardy said, among many skills: 

  • They understand education
  • They are architects themselves, so have an excellent understanding of the project
  • They are able to collaborate and facilitate communication

Poprik also gave an update on the College Heights Building. He presented the following to the board: 

"As design work begins on a Panorama Village Building phased renovation, the Board should begin to consider options for the disposition of the College Heights Building. Presumably, this building would no longer be needed at the completion of the first phase of the Panorama Village project. Proceeds from a sale of the College Heights Building could be used to help offset costs of the Panorama Village conversion. Administration intends to pursue an independent appraisal of the College Heights Building to help advise future deliberations on these issues."

Currently, there are some preliminary discussions going on with members of the community who have expressed interest in the building. Talks are in the early stage and the board will eventually move forward with a formal appraisal. 

The board wrapped up and adjourned to an executive session around 8:30 p.m. Monday night, the meeting moving quickly over the course of an hour with the first day of school quickly approaching. 

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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