State College

SCASD holds community meeting on possible elementary school projects

The first in a series of community engagement meetings was held Wednesday night at Corl Street Elementary School to discuss a proposal for future elementary school projects.

The proposals are part of a larger State College Area School District master plan to update, renovate and/or consolidate its facilities.

The district has allocated about $40 million to put toward the projects, however it is expecting $3 million to $4 million in state funds to help offset some costs, district Director of Physical Plant Ed Poprik said.

Administration is seeking community recommendations and will then look to the nine-member school board to take action on a plan.

According to a report from the district, renovations and/or new construction will be considered for Houserville, Radio Park and Corl Street elementary schools.

It includes consolidating Lemont with Houserville elementary school — an option the district proposed in 1999.

If that’s the case, the board would determine the status of the vacant Lemont facility, which could be repurposed, Poprik said.

As for Corl Street and Radio Park elementary schools, Poprik said there are options for each.

Similar to Radio Park, a renovation could be made to Corl Street Elementary that would include a new gymnasium and other updates to make it “more modern,” Poprik said.

The other option would be to shut down the school, and send its students elsewhere.

Poprik told the public that would mean “repurposing” the school, meaning the facility would still be owned by the district for another use than as an elementary school.

If Corl Street closes, renovations could be more extensive to Radio Park where some students would go, Poprik said.

Other students could also be sent to Easterly Parkway Elementary School, Poprik said.

A demographic analysis of the district’s enrollment areas will be conducted and completed by July, which Poprik said would help determine what projects to undertake at each school.

“There’s been somewhat of a declining enrollment so they’ll help us define what changes need to be made,” Poprik said. “I’ve been here 19 years and this is the smallest it’s been.”

Earlier this year, the district applied for a grant through the state Department of Community and Economic Development that could reimburse school projects by 10 percent, up to $2 million, a report from the district said.

In accordance with grant requirements, the district identified Houserville and Radio Park elementary schools on the applications as possible renovation and/or new construction projects.

“The schools were chosen because they project to be the most costly projects out of the district elementary schools in need of upgrades, and thus would derive the most value from the grant,” district spokesman Chris Rosenblum said.

Grant funds are based on “substantial construction” by June 2018, Rosenblum said.

District administration will know by June 13 if it receives the grant.

This month, the state also presented a moratorium on PlanCon reimbursement for new projects.

PlanCon, an acronym for Planning and Construction Workbook, is a set of forms and procedures used to apply for reimbursements through the commonwealth.

To be eligible for future funding, the district must have submitted PlanCon applications for elementary school projects by May 15, Rosenblum said.

The applications included maximum estimates for Houserville, Radio Park and Corl Street.

It includes estimates of $11 million to $12.2 million for Corl Street, $16.5 million to $19.3 million for Houserville, and $17 million to $19.8 million for Radio Park.

District Business Manager Randy Brown said if schools are set at their “high cost alternatives” for construction that exceeds the $40 million, the district would need to take out a loan.

Rosenblum said the PlanCon applications are expected to protect about $2.2 million to $2.4 million in potential state reimbursement for two projects.

Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates and Massaro Construction Management Services were chosen to conduct the master plan update, which includes preparing potential designs for the schools.

Studio Director Jeff Straub, from Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates, told the public on Wednesday that the firm made conservatives estimates for the potential school projects, but also looked at other factors including energy efficiency that would make the schools “green” buildings.

“It’s also about looking at the cost of the facility over 20, 30, 40 years,” Straub said.

Rosenblum said the firms were chosen “because of their cost-efficient work with the State High project, their knowledge of and relationship with the district, and their track record statewide with district master planning and school construction.”

A report from the district said design options will be created during the summer, and a design team with work with other area elementary school teachers and administrators about the pros and cons of the other schools.

A community discussion about design options will be held in September.

Adoption of a final plan is slated for October, and regular updates will be given until construction starts in August 2017, according to a report from the district.

Construction is expected to last about 16 months.

Rosenblum said the board isn’t locked into costs and can modify designs. The district also is not obligated to proceed with the proposed projects.

Community engagement meetings

▪ 7 p.m. Tuesday at Radio Park Elementary

▪ 7 p.m. Wednesday at Houserville Elementary

▪ 7 p.m. June 16 at Mount Nittany Middle School

About the schools

▪ Corl Street Elementary School

Location: 235 S. Corl St.

Size: 27,780 square feet, on 4.7 acres

Enrollment: K-5, 249

Year Built: 1952

Renovations: 1961, 1996, and a modular computer lab added in 2003

▪ Houserville Elementary School

Location: 217 Scholl St.

Size: 36,952 square feet, on 15 acres

Enrollment: 3-5, 185

Year Built: 1959

▪ Lemont Elementary School

Location: 675 Elmwood St., Lemont

Size: 28,142 square feet, on 6.8 acres

Enrollment: K-2, 170

Year Built: 1939

Renovations: 1966

▪ Radio Park Elementary School

Location: 800 W. Cherry Lane

Size: 56,697 square feet, on 26 acres

Enrollment: K-5, 375

Year Built: 1963

SCASD elementary school project options

Option 1

Radio Park

Additions/renovations

Houserville

Additions/renovations

Corl Street

Additions/renovations

Lemont

Repurpose

Option 2

Radio Park

Additions/renovations

Houserville

Additions/renovations

Corl Street

Repurpose

Lemont

Repurpose

Option 3

Radio Park

New construction

Houserville

New construction

Corl Street

Additions/renovations

Lemont

Repurpose

Option 4

Radio Park

New construction

Houserville

New construction

Corl Street

Repurpose

Lemont

Repurpose

Option 5

Radio Park

Additions/renovations

Houserville

New construction

Corl Street

Additions/renovations

Lemont

Repurpose

Option 6

Radio Park

Additions/renovations

Houserville

New construction

Corl Street

Repurpose

Lemont

Repurpose

Option 7

Radio Park

New construction

Houserville

Additions/renovations

Corl Street

Additions/renovations

Lemont

Repurpose

Option 8

Radio Park

New construction

Houserville

Additions/renovations

Corl Street

Repurpose

Lemont

Repurpose

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