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State College School Board Gives Direction on High School Project

by on October 29, 2013 11:00 AM

The State College School Board gave the high school project team some much needed direction during the board's regular meeting Monday night.

Representatives from the architecture firm, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates were on hand to give the board an update on the design for the high school renovations.

The board passed a motion directing the architects to continue designing the new high school based on the educational specifications the board has been discussing for months. The educational specifications are supposed to help foster the learning communities within the school.

Director of the Office of Physical Plant for the State College School District Ed Poprik says the design is not set in stone at this point, and that tweaking will be allowed throughout the design process.

"The design process is based off something," Poprik says. "This draft [educational specifications] is what its based on." 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.

Architects were also given the go-ahead to continuing developing design plans with the current idea of increasing parking spaces. The board wants to increase space to between about 750 and 825.

The first step in making these parking changes happen requires a variance from the State College Borough. Currently a building in the borough is required to have one spot per 500 square feet.

If applied to the new high school, more than 1,000 spaces would be needed. That's not feasible, given the limited amount of land the high school sits on.

The new drawings shown to the board are more detailed than the last sketches and the architects hope to add more detail soon.

"We need to give [the developers] some targets as to how much parking will be allowed at the space," Poprik says. "We need to move away from a range and work towards a number."

"By the November 11 meeting, we hope to have some pretty specific numbers of square footage," John Beddia with Crabtree says. "By next time we meet we should have an analysis for both scenarios, obviously in direct relation to the budget."

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.

The school board is now looking at differences between two proposed renovation plans for the high school. One redesign plan has a more westward expansion of the south building, while option two incorporates a more crescent shape in the front of the building.

Beddia says that the second option will most likely be a little more efficient because of travel distances for students and faculty. The amount of demolition and renovation for both redesigns are about equal.

All board members were in favor of pushing forward with option two, but no formal decision to adopt either plan was made.

Related Stories:

School Board Examines Educational Specifications and High School Renovation Plans

State College School Board Sees Initial High School Renovation Plans

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

School Board Reviews Timeline for High School Renovation Referendum

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