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New school for Class of 2022

Posted on Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 10:00 am

During the design presentation, architects allowed for a group vote on the school facade. Option two (pictured above) received the most votes.

Architect Paul Klee of Grimm and Parker disappointed one resident who asked if the new high school would be completed for the class of 2021. The current time-line anticipates construction will be complete in time for the class of 2022. Although the budget called for a reduction in size, learning spaces have not been compromised. Safety was also a big concern which Klee addressed during his presentation.

Grimm and Parker presented an updated design of the new high school to school board members and the public on Monday October 16. The auditorium was about half full at W&L High School with citizens anxious to see what changes have been made.

Klee said the design is in its early phase, what Grimm and Parker calls the schematic design. They anticipate having design documents ready for bidding in about a year and construction will begin shortly after, taking about two years to complete.

Grimm and Parker have been working with school officials and holding public meetings to get opinions and to address concerns of both citizens and students.

Early on the architects identified guiding principles for the design. These principles focused on creating a school that could be used by the entire community.

“We want this building to be a community building as well as a high school,” Klee said. “(However,) we want it to be essential for the students. We want the students to know that we care and they matter.” Preparing students of all ages for college, careers, lifelong learning, recreation and civic engagement is a top priority of the new high school design.

Other goals include creating a school that will fully utilize all the spaces for learning and look forward to the future being mindful of changes to learning needs that may arise in the future.

Throughout this process, as financing options have been explored, Grimm and Parker have been instructed to reduce costs. “We know we have a budget and we have to stick to that budget,” Klee said.

Grimm and Parker are developing 40 of the 75 acres on the property. The current building size is 145,000 square feet. Klee said during the feasibility study the building was a lot larger, “We’ve had to shrink the building down to get it to where the budget can accommodate it. The building has reduced in size but the program has not.”

Read more of this story in the October 25 issue of the Westmoreland News.