High School Renovation Project
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Quakertown Community  High School has provided generations of students an education based on a rigorous and comprehensive academic program that prepares them to become responsible and independent citizens.  The High School is the keystone of a Quakertown Community education and a source of significant pride for students, staff, alumni, and residents.  The Quakertown community has invested in its schools for more than 150 years and understands that a strong school system adds value to homes and community.

 1938 
Building
History
 

 An aerial view of Quakertown in 1938

   

Half a Century of Education
 
Over the past 57 years, the High School has been renovated or added onto five times. Prior to the construction of the new High School in 1954, the site had been a fairground. It was known alternately and possibly, at different times, as the Bucks County Fairgrounds and as Lulu Park. It was at one time the home of the Greater Bucks County Fair. The fairgrounds included an oval track used for sulky races and later for auto races. After the construction of the first High School (now Quakertown Elementary School), it was at times used as an athletic field for the school.
 
The eastern end of the site, near what is now Fifth Street and Park Avenue, was a swampy low area. An effort was made to fill this area to raise it above the water table by using it as a dump site. The use of this area as a dump was discontinued before the construction of the new High School, which began in 1954. This usage came to light during the construction of the Cafeteria Addition which began in 2001. The subsoil was found to be unsuitable structurally. The subsoil was tested and found to be non-hazardous trash. The material was removed to a depth necessary for the construction of the Cafeteria Addition and transported to a landfill.
 
After the construction of the new High School beginning in 1954, there were four projects to construct additions to the building. In 1965, construction began on an Auditorium / Music Suite Addition to the east, and a Classroom Addition to the southwest. A small Storage Addition to the northwest near the entrance canopy was also constructed as a part of the 1965 project, and a parking area added to the west of the Classroom Addition.
 
In 1969, construction began on a small addition to the 1965 Classroom Addition, to house the District offices. In 1987, construction began on four additions to the building. To the south, a Library / Classroom Addition was added to the east of the 1965 Classroom Addition. This addition also linked to the south side of the original 1954 building. A gymnasium addition was built at the southeast corner of the 1954 building. A Band Room suite was built at the northeast corner of the 1954 building. And a two classroom addition was built at the northwest end of the 1954 building to the east of the bus loop. As a part of this project, additional parking was provided along the south of the building and a drop-off driveway was constructed along the eastern side of the building to serve the Gym and Auditorium Lobby.

The Cafeteria Addition project began in 2001. It was built around the three exposed sides of the 1987 Band Room Addition and included a new entrance Lobby to the west of the Band Room. As a part of this project, a new parking area was added along the tennis courts, to the south of the parking area built with the 1987 project, and a new parking lot was constructed on the north side of Park Avenue, across from the new entrance lobby.

 
The Need for the Project
 
Several problems within the existing structure were noted during a year long, in-depth facility study conducted by The Architechtural Studio (TAS), QCSD architects. 
 
Structural Concerns 
  • Settlement - Several classrooms, corridors in the 1965 addition, and the gym.
  • Drainage -  There are areas of deterioration, standing water, and basement infiltration.
  • Architechtural Issues - Asbestos, deteriorated envelope, some roof area and interior conditions.  
  • ADA Accessibility - Many areas of the building are not accessible and do not meet standards.

 HVAC Concerns

HVAC Deficiencies

  

Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Concerns 
  • Central Plants - Boilers, steam converters, and chillers are at the end of their useful lives. 
  • Insufficient Heating/Cooling Capacities - There are areas that are underserved and inefficient.
  • Electrical - Concerns with capacity, lighting, receptacles, communications, and emergency power.  
  • Plumbing - Corrosion, inefficient hot water system, pump issues, and replacement fixtures.


Tomorrow Today:  Learning Environments for the Digital Learner
 
The QCSD Board is challenged to not only repair the existing areas of concern but also insure that the money invested in any project meets the needs for the future.  Research for 21st century learning environments indicate the need for flexibility, sustainability, and community engagement.   
 
Flexibility
  • School and classroom design should accommodate diverse learning needs. Space should be large enough and furniture and other classroom objects should be easily reconfigurable to allow multiple learning activities to occur simultaneously.
  • Space should be designed in anticipation of evolving learning needs, as both student populations and the relevance of specific subjects change over time.
  • Flexible learning spaces allow for interactions and collaborative work, which are fundamental to the development of several 21st century skills. Such skills include: leadership, communication, teamwork, and interpersonal skills.
  • Flexible schools provide space outside of classroom for collaborative work. Such spaces include: project rooms, atriums, and courtyards.
Sustainability 
  • Environmental factors such as lighting, air quality, and temperature affect student learning and should be incorporated into school design.
  • Money saved from efficient lighting, ventilation, and temperature control can be reinvested in other things that directly contribute to student achievement, such as support staff or technological upgrades.
  • Schools designed according to principles of environmental sustainability can serve as a laboratory for students to observe the application of environmental concepts and principles. This can help develop environmental literacy – a 21st century skill. 

Community Engagement 

  • Present design information to the community. Opening the design process up to community members and school stakeholders can bring in fresh ideas and perspectives. It also lends a greater sense of legitimacy to expert opinions.
  • As demands for accountability in public spending and community investments mount and the percentage of the population that has no direct connection to schools grows, experts agree that districts should design schools for community benefit rather than just student benefit.
  • 21st century schools are partnering with community organizations – such as local branches of the YMCA and public libraries – to provide essential services, allowing for the creation of more flexible learning spaces.
     
A Design for the Next Half Century of Education
 
Focus group meetings of teachers, students, administrators and board members were held to determine preliminary needs for the design.
  
Project Links (under construction)
 
Project Updates
PlanCon B - Schematic Design, is a technical review conference of the conceptual drawings, site plan and educational specifications. The architect and a district administrator who is knowledgeable about the project and the educational program must be present at the schematic design conference.
PlanCon C not necessary - land purchase