JACKSON TWP — A new elementary school building in the Seneca Valley School District will promote collaboration and aim to bring students together, officials said Monday.
The Seneca Valley School Board heard final design details for the new school that will be built off Ehrman Road at the border of Cranberry and Jackson townships. It will replace the Evans City elementary and middle school building.
Michael Corb of CannonDesign said the firm is close to finalizing plans for the building. Working with a steering committee, the goal has been to create a building that is geared toward collaborative learning, with large open learning spaces. It also focuses on making the building a teaching tool.
The project cost has decreased slightly, Corb said, with a roughly $75 million to $78 million price tag. That includes $53.4 million in base costs and $9.3 million in site work. It also factors in a 20-to-25 percent “project cost multiplier,” which accounts for other costs not included in brick and mortar work.
The most recent design also includes a number of features focused on sustainability, including the potential for geothermal heating and cooling, as well as solar panels so students could learn about the process. It also features low-flow plumbing and LED lighting that will dim when natural light is sufficient.
The entryway will feature a snowmelt system. Corb said this also will cut down on maintenance and degradation of the surface itself.
The building design features wings, with elementary classrooms on one side and middle school on the other. Kindergarten will be housed on the second floor. Common areas like the cafeteria and 500-seat gym will be designed to draw students together. Corb noted designers are working to ensure those areas are also not too loud — a common issue at the current Evans City building.
The theme for the project is building bridges and creating communities, Corb said, with the two wings flowing together into one common space. The areas are brought together by walking ramps and stairs designed to promote active lifestyles and draw students in.
Classrooms are a combination of traditional and collaborative learning spaces, Corb said. He added designers are looking at how to make walls throughout the building a combination of digital, analog and “curated,” meaning they can be used for projects of all types. The building's Creativity, Innovation and Research space has three zones, and the larger space can be used for public displays and science fairs.
The project includes $650,000 in upgrades to Ehrman Road, which Corb said are still be determined. He said traffic impact studies have been submitted to Cranberry Township officials, and he anticipates a decision on emergency response and other traffic factors in the coming months.
Corb also outlined a number of project alternatives, many focused on security, that could be added later in the design phase. They include decisions on installing laminated glass or security film at the entryway and on first-floor windows, and determining which is most cost effective.
The permitting process is ongoing, with the board on Monday approving wetland delineation studies to begin. A state required Act 34 hearing associated with any new construction and spending could take place in October, with final construction documents being submitted in January. Bidding could begin in February, Corb said.