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State College Superintendent Recommends Educational Planner

by on September 25, 2012 6:00 AM

Months of interviews, meetings and planning cumulated in State College Area Superintendent Bob O'Donnell's recommendation to the School Board of Directors of Brainspace, Inc., as Educational Planner for State High's coming renovations.

Over several meetings, the necessity of an educational planner has been stressed by district officials. O'Donnell and Ed Poprik, Director of the Office of Physical Plant, presented what the responsibilities and duties of an Educational Planner will be to aid the high school in its upcoming project. Renovations are expected to start in three years.

The educational planner will "collaborate with architects, eduators and the learning community to design and enhance facilities that support learning," O'Donnell said. "They help to transform educational goals into learning spaces." 

Brainspaces, Inc., the firm recommended to the board at its regular meeting on Monday night, is a Chicago-based firm that touts 25 years of experience in designing learning spaces as well as many accolades, including winning the 2011 Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI) International Planner of the Year award and the 2010 CEFPI National Planner of the Year award, among others. 

Amy Yurko, the proprietor of Brainspaces, Inc., will work with her team to collaborate with the architectural firm recently approved by the board, Crabtree Rohrbaugh and Associates, O'Donnell said.

On Oct. 8, the board can expect a draft of a contract for Brainsapces, Inc., to bring before the board for approval. It will include the scope of work, the timeline, fees, deliverables and data for the educational specifications.

A November work session with the architect and Educational Planner will be scheduled to further discuss "how we plan the project, what the expectations and how we establish those pieces," O'Donnell said.

Given that the high school's renovations are still three years off from officially seeing a "shovel in the ground," board member Dorothea Stahl said it is imperative all members of the public are up-to-date on all the discussions had and the decisions made when the high school's designs are finalized. 

"This project will go to the community to be voted on to go to the referendum. Brainspace, Inc. has done a referendum before ... "We have to include the people who have to work there in that process," Stahl said. 

"All of our efforts are going to come down to a vote. We want the public to feel we put in the proper time and energy." 

O'Donnell also presented an update on the 2013-14 budget. Just like the 2012-13 budget, there will be a 1.7 percent index only. 

Expected at the Oct. 8 regular board meeting: 

  • 2011-12 a presentation of the unaudited financial results;
  • 2013-14 budget projections;
  • Five-year budget projections.

Budget discussions will also be held during October meetings with employees to discuss district planning efforts, O'Donnell said. 

Regular board meetings are held at 7:30 p.m. in 131 W. Nittany Ave. and are open to the public. 

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