High School Renovation

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About the High School  Act 34 Hearing Community Forums Video Archive Schematic Design DeJong Study Project Financing

High School Schematic Design Process

Design Criteria 
As a result of public and Board input gathered at numerous community meetings and meetings with staff, the architects established a set of criteria that was used in the development of the schematic design of the High School. Also included in the criteria are the community and staff input from the 2007 DeJong Study. Listed below is the design criteria:

1. Create academic center to improve student access to resources
2. Meet MTLSD educational goals for 21st century learning
3. Replace learning spaces for arts
4. Improve athletic spaces
5. New pool
6. Clear circulation
7. Create a center to strengthen the Mt. Lebanon high school community
8. Reuse buildings B, D, E, and F, “like-new” renovation
9. No temporary classrooms
10. Minimize disruption to students during construction phase 1
11. Minimize site work
12. Improve vehicular circulation
13. Improve proximity of entrances to parking
14. Drop-off plaza on Horsman Road
15. Maximizes State Reimbursement

Project Description

The architects presented the schematic design to the Board in early May 2009, and on June 8, 2009, the School Board voted 7-2 to approve the schematic design of the High School.  The design addressed the 15 Design Criteria established by the Board and community.  The proposed new High School for the Mt. Lebanon School District will consist of new construction and renovated portions of the existing multi-story building.  New buildings to be constructed include a new academic wing (Building G) and an athletic field house (Buildings H and I).  The west and south portion of Building D will also be new construction linking into the new commons created in the existing portions of Building D and providing space for arts programs, a new Learning Technology Center and the primary student entrance to the facility.  Existing portions of the building to be retained include an academic building (Building B), a large performing arts theatre (Building E / Auditorium), and a small performing arts theatre (Building F / Fine Arts Theatre).  The existing competition gym building (Building D) will also be retained, but will be significantly renovated into a new Academic Commons (new Center Court) and dining space.

The Academic Commons is centrally located to make it the heart of the school with the cafeteria integrated into this space; Learning Technology Center is immediately adjacent to the Academic Commons allowing students to easily move between these two areas.  Each major area of learning has access to the Academic Commons and associated shared spaces for flexible educational space, to enliven the Academic Commons and provide an opportunity for the integration of curricular areas.  The Academic Commons is located on the third level which connects all of the portions of this multistory building.  A grand stair connects the Academic Commons to a new student and public entrance on Horsman Drive.  New public entrances are also located into the Field House and directly from the parking area to the south.  Existing public entrances will be reused at Building B, at the Auditorium lobby at Building F and at the Fine Arts Theatre lobby at Building G. 

Renovation of the Auditorium and Fine Arts Theatre will result in improved sound and lighting and new seating.  The Field House includes a competition gym, an eight lane pool, two auxiliary gyms and supporting lockers.  A glass enclosed bridge over Horsman Drive connects the Field House with the Academic Commons and allows easy separation of this area for community use during school hours. 

Project Benefits

The plan “right sizes” the High School for the student population.  The building will now be organized for clear identification and grouping of departments with improved circulation throughout the building.  Delivery of instruction will be supported by classroom size that will increase to 800 square feet to accommodate multiple learning activities.  The integration of technology throughout the building will expand the capacity for distance learning opportunities. Flexible spaces were incorporated into the design for interdisciplinary project-based work and the ability to use technology anywhere in the building.  Adequate numbers of teaching spaces will be designed for academic and fine arts designed for interdepartmental collaboration as well as modern physical education areas.  The design provides resource spaces for learning and social spaces for informal learning.

The organization of spaces within the new High School will provide for proximity of corollary and auxiliary spaces, the alignment of student services (administration, guidance, and nurse) localization of instructional spaces, and better flow for students on arrival to school and within the building throughout the school day.  There will be complete ADA compliance for handicapped accessibility on the site and in the building.  Significant improvements will be made in the area of security.

Since 62% of after hours usage of the High School is by community groups, the schematic design improves community use and access to areas such as the gymnasiums, fitness facilities, new pool, renovated auditorium and Fine Arts Theatre.

Energy efficiency systems, appropriate equipment, less square footage, new windows and roofs will reduce operations and maintenance costs.  The High School design will also incorporate sustainability initiatives such as attainment of U.S. Green Building Council LEED Silver certification.

The length of the project is estimated to be 3-4 years. The impact of this construction project on students and staff during construction will mean fewer construction phases, less student disruption and displacement and no modular classrooms.

 

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