Despite a volatile bidding environment for a public project with multiple primes and work split between two District buildings, the Ephrata Area School District High School / Middle School bids came in right on budget. The team of Fidevia Construction Management, RLPS Architects, Moore Engineering Company and ELA Group carefully deliberated with the District regarding how and when to bid the projects due to fluctuating materials and labor costs. The bidding timeframe was ultimately extended so as not to coincide with other local public school project bid processes.
“We were pleased to be able to bring this project in on budget despite current construction pricing uncertainties,” reports Erin Hoffman, Project Manager. “Our cost estimate for the project was $32,900,000 and the bids came in at $32,850,000.”
High School Music Suite
Renovations to the music department and areas surrounding the auditorium will update spaces to better support the music program and provide a more inspiring setting for the curriculum. Upgraded areas include the band room, orchestra room, practice rooms, dressing room and accessible music department corridors. In addition to functional improvements to acoustics and space layouts, the project will also enliven the spaces with finish updates.
Students were engaged for design reviews and provided input regarding some of the final finishes. The design result includes band-uniform and keyboard-inspired floor patterns in the band and orchestra rooms respectively. Students also chose the District’s signature purple tone with gold raised trim for acoustical panel designs, as well as a rainbow pattern in the music area corridor. The flooring in each of the practice rooms will be incorporated into the stripes of the rainbow. Some students will also have the opportunity to design a custom-printed, retractable shade to be used for a shared work counter in the music corridor.
Special Education / Virtual Education Suite
A modest addition will serve as the new Special Services office suite, which paves the way to allocate additional space for non-traditional programs. Project Build a Better Future teaches students with special needs how to prepare for life outside the classroom. An additional life skills learning environment will be provided for these students.
A new Virtual Educational Suite will consolidate a remote location to allow the District’s cyber school to operate within the high school building. The new district offices will include a reception area and workspace, boardroom, conference room, IT suite and administrative offices.
“The school district administration was focused on creating improved indoor environments for their students and staff while at the same time upgrading their building HVAC systems,” noted Ken Kauffman, President of Moore Engineering. “It was great to work interactively as a team to determine the optimum path and develop solutions that are both high performing and economical.”
Mechanical System Upgrades
Moore Engineering led the team through a system evaluation, option review and selection process for mechanical system upgrades at the high school and middle school buildings. Using an evaluation matrix of energy efficiency, phasing, first costs, life cycle costs and visual impacts, the District selected ducted four-pipe heating, cooling, and ventilating systems for the High School and packaged VAV systems for the Middle School These systems not only utilize higher efficiency equipment to lower energy costs, but they will improve the indoor air quality though increased ventilation and filtration, and create more comfortable learning spaces for students and staff members.
Erin Hoffman, ALEP, is a Project Manager with 19 years of experience. She is passionate about educational programming, 21st century learning environments and the resulting space needs for student-centered, personalized learning. Erin recently earned the Accredited Learning Environments Planner (ALEP) credential. She has authored articles and serves as a conference speaker on the topic of educational spaces, including NSBA where she co-presented with the Ephrata Area School district superintendent and students regarding the High School Learning Commons.
Kenneth Kauffman, P.E., LEED AP, is President of Moore Engineering Company. He has worked with numerous Pennsylvania school districts and is skilled in MEP engineering, feasibility studies, facility management (FM), and energy efficiency. Ken leads the design of highly functional systems while staying within budget, earning a reputation for delivering quality systems with lasting value. He has helped many districts effectively balance initial construction costs, operating expenses, and future value.