State College school board has favorite State College Area High School design option

Each State College school board member has put support behind construction Option 2 for the upcoming high school project, but during the group’s next meeting, it will become official.

The administration will ask the board to adopt the option, which puts the new construction in a crescent formation in front of the current South Building, to allow the architects to continue developing the design.

Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates has continued to refine the schematic design, creating a base floor plan and three-dimensional model of what a new school could look like.

But architect John Beddia said that though it is starting to look more solid, the majority of work is still to come.

“This solution addresses the program as we understand it to date,” he said. “Through the normal course of design, there is a tremendous amount of design work yet to occur.”

Senior project manager Jeff Straub added that if the design was a 10-chapter book, the current status is about chapter one or two.

Board member Jim Pawelczyk praised the work of the design team, saying that they have continued to improve the buildings and structure.

“There is a lot of progress that has happened over the past week or two, and a lot of really great refinements,” he said.

Cost also will be a driving factor as plans continue to be developed, board member Laurel Zydney added.

Beddia said the team will be shifting some of the focus to cost and working with the project managers, Alexander Building Construction, to refine the estimates.

The team also is looking at ways to mitigate stormwater problems on the north side of Westerly Parkway and is working to possibly change the current street design.

Engineer Matt Harlow has said there is an opportunity to create a four-way intersection and add a traffic light by shifting Plaza Drive to meet with O’Bryan Lane.

Harlow, of ELA Group, added last meeting that there are ways to mitigate stormwater without moving Plaza Drive, but he is uncertain if they will be able to add the traffic light until a full traffic study is completed.

Physical Plant Director Ed Poprik said that both options for Plaza Drive are on the table, but there will not be sufficient funding to perform major traffic studies or complete the full design of any buildings unless the May 20, 2014, referendum passes.