The District’s educational mission is its top priority. Yet the District recognizes that schools are community centers of the District. Thus, the District determined that whatever community use could be facilitated without adding to the cost of the facilities should be considered as the entire community would benefit and the District would receive increased level of support from parents and non-parents alike.
School Facilities, District-Wide
The original construction of East Vincent Elementary School, as well as East Coventry Elementary, French Creek Elementary, the Middle and High Schools was completed during the 1950’s and 1960’s. North Coventry Elementary was constructed in 1999 and West Vincent Elementary in 2008. French Creek was renovated in 2002, the Middle School was renovated in 2008 and the High School was renovated in 2006. Both East Vincent and East Coventry were last renovated more than 20 years ago.
Condition of School Facilities, District-Wide
The District’s facilities are in good to excellent condition. They are maintained in a manner that extends the life of materials and systems. Ongoing preventive maintenance programs provide a clean, comfortable, healthy and safe environment for the students of the Owen J. Robert’s School District. However, in the case of East Vincent and East Coventry Elementary Schools, the useful life of these schools and building systems have been outlived.
With a dual focus on educational excellence and fiscal responsibility, Owen J. Roberts School District is moving forward with construction plans for two elementary schools.
The combined projects will address capacity issues and create equity among the district’s five elementary buildings by providing appropriate spaces for quality educational programs and systems that enhance learning. East Coventry and East Vincent Elementary both have growing student populations already over the 550 student capacity. Both have aging heating systems and lack air conditioning. Neither school has available large group instructional spaces or the technology infrastructure necessary to sustain the demands of today’s digital world.
Educational programs which build critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity are driving building design. Thinking long term, spaces are being designed to maximize flexibility of use and adaptation over time. A tremendous amount of work has taken place to gather feedback from educators on the needs for the delivery of the educational program.
Several public meetings have been held addressing the projects, including the mandated Act 34 Public Hearings for each project. The district will use existing designated funds for the projects, using money it has purposefully saved over the last 10 years as a result of population growth and projections for continued growth.
The most recent feasibility study was performed in 2011, but the district has been paying close attention to aging buildings and systems since a 2004 study. “Over the past decade we have been saving incrementally for this project,” Krumrine said. “The only immediate tax impact will be those indirect costs associated with maintenance of the building.” By paying cash, the district will save enormous interest costs over a 25-year period.
Grade level areas will contain a commons space for special projects or combined class lessons. There will be flexibility for customized learning.
All classrooms will be provided with interactive projectors, and the buildings will be equipped with a wireless infrastructure that suit current and future technology needs.
Increased parking and an improved traffic flow, with parent drop-off and pick-up points separate from buses will be part of the project. Science labs and full-size art and music classrooms will be included. A centrally-located media center will insure that all students have access to books, information and information technology.
Best practice in school security has been addressed by featuring a number of security measures including electronic locks, monitored doors and multiple cameras. Energy efficient HVAC systems will be part of the projects.