Our community has always demonstrated high regard and support for good-quality educational experiences for all students.
Children in our community spend 13 years in our schools and receive a high level of instruction and care from our faculty and staff.
While these school buildings have served us well, several of our facilities need significant repairs or upgrades.
In the coming months, our district will ask for community engagement and support to help us tackle these facility challenges.
The information below is an update regarding our most current facility discussions, including the high school and other school buildings and Memorial Field.
The most significant facility need is modernizing our high school.
This fall, we look forward to engaging the community in the high school discussion, including developing options and identifying potential revenue sources. All community engagement opportunities will be posted on www.scasd.org and other local sources. And our staff will be highly engaged throughout the process. Our board recently named Crabtree Rohrbaugh and Associates Architects to develop a schematic design for the high school. This firm has a proven history of building and renovating high-quality schools at a very competitive cost.
The architects will work in conjunction with a professional educational planner to develop a model that is most responsive to our current and future students. The next step is to evaluate qualified educational planner candidates who have submitted proposals. The selected firms were scheduled for a round of public interviews that took place in August and are now available on CNET.
After the interview process and deliberation, a recommendation for the educational planner selection will go to the board this month.
The funding of our high school project will require permission from the community via a public voting process. Because the school referendum process is new to Pennsylvania, we will communicate more details to our community throughout the 2012-13 school year. A successful voter referendum must pass before project funding will be allocated.
In addition to our high school, our district will continue evaluation and discussion regarding Radio Park, Houserville, Lemont, Corl Street and Fairmount Avenue schools. These projects are identified in our current districtwide facilities master plan.
Memorial Field is also a district-owned facility in need of repair.
Although our board has considered a major renovation to this structure, only the most critical elements of repair and maintenance are currently being proposed.
Safety of student-athletes, coaches and fans is of utmost importance to our district. In order to keep this venue in safe and playable condition for practices and competitions, the following work is recommended beginning at the conclusion of the fall 2012 athletic season: repairing the west side bleachers, including the retaining wall; replacing the artificial turf playing surface, installed in 2003 with a life expectancy of about eight years; and addressing drainage and water runoff issues.
Our district is also exploring less costly locker room facilities in the Fairmount Avenue building, as we currently do not have locker room facilities for this venue.
Robert J. O’Donnell is superintendent of the State College Area School District.