Projects

Ephrata High School

Ephrata, PA

Creative Renovations Working Inside the Box

Ephrata Area School District needed to reinvent its high school library space to integrate technology and promote collaborative learning experiences. The challenge was to find creative ways to transform the existing space into a new media center and learning commons for Ephrata’s students without stepping too far “outside the box.” Within the space, new areas had to be created that would make it a popular place for students to hang out and study, one that would help Ephrata High School students position themselves for the future.

Fostering Student Engagement

RLPS facilitated a student design competition and a design charrette with a group of Ephrata high school students, the librarian and school administrators. These students, District administrators, and staff members collaborated with RLPS through the process, so that the media center had spaces that reflected the unique culture of Ephrata High School.  These students were also able to work with RLPS Interiors to select furnishing, finishes, and equipment to reflect what they needed to make the reinvented spaces their own. The design result was the introduction of informal seating options, several walls being finished with writeable white-board paint and the inclusion of varied group collaboration spaces– some with privacy-providing writeable glass walls and others with open seating options.

Future-Ready Spaces

Updates encompassed a renovated two-story lobby with stadium-seating steps that facilitate student flow and provide an additional spot for student interaction, as well as a tech lounge  where students and staff can get technology assistance from students as part of a technology class curriculum. The main media center space features flexible furniture, allowing for easy adaptation to whatever the future might bring to Ephrata High School. Acoustic clouds on the ceiling provide sound control in the open space, while also acting as an aesthetic feature. The updated media center includes informal study areas, collaboration rooms, a television studio, an e-lab classroom, a circulation desk, and a café, making it ready for 21st century learners. The café, located at the media center entrance, provides an additional revenue source for food services and encourages students to use the media center space before or after school.

AWARD: Outstanding Award for Excellence in Educational Facility Design, Learning By Design

“This is a wonderful example of how to renovate an old fashion high school library to meet modern pedagogy, student taste, contemporary social community customs in multiple cluster oriented, light infused, bright spaces. The learning stairs, the cafe, labs and acoustically appropriate study spots all add to the success of  this project. The renovation brings a lively, flexible space into the interior of the building and accommodates informal learning and meeting with new technology capacities.”

-Learning by Design jury panel

Photo Credit:  Nathan Cox Photography

Warwick Middle School

Lititz, PA

This new 7th and 8th Grade Middle School was constructed around the gymnasium. The design layout was based on the school’s team concept educational program, organizing classrooms into three teams per grade. The design arranges each team in a “pod” of classrooms positioned around a shared learning commons space. Team pods are paired to share a common instruction area, science laboratory storage and bathrooms. The overall floor plan has been organized around a ‘T’ concept with the main gallery, where the students enter from the bus drop off, and the main corridor connecting all of the team pods.

Award: American School & University Architectural Portfolio Outstanding Design

 

Photo Credit: Larry Lefever Photography

Willman Business Center, York College of Pennsylvania

York, PA

A Place of Opportunity

York College of Pennsylvania has a very strong business program, but the building in which it was housed needed updating and significant expansion. Located close to local York businesses and corporations, the program offered its enrolled students many advantages. It was missing just one thing: updating. RLPS worked with York College of Pennsylvania to develop a space that works with their current program and to future-proof it as the curriculum advances.

Connection to the Campus

The building needed to display outwardly what was going on inside. A sleek corporate design was selected, but it had to fit in aesthetically with the other brick buildings on campus. Due to the existing building’s location on the campus quad, the expansion was situated so that all angles of approach are welcoming and connected to the center of campus. The end result is a primarily brick façade facing the campus quad and merging with the other buildings, with refined metal and glass surfaces facing outwards, capitalizing on the city views.

A Modern Setting for Modern Students

The inside of the building features an expansive two-story lobby equipped with a NASDAQ ticker. Further inside are nine smart classrooms with seating for 40 students each, a 150-seat auditorium, a commerce lab, and a corporate training center. Other additions include offices, collaborative research areas, and breakout rooms that promote spontaneous learning. The building is capped with Yorkview Hall, a multipurpose space enclosed in glass, capable of seating 300 people for diverse events. Yorkview Hall opens out onto terraces with panoramic views of the city of York.

Award: American School & University 2014 Architectural Portfolio Outstanding Design

 

Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography

Murray Library Learning Commons, Messiah College

Mechanicsburg, PA

Renovations incorporated Learning Commons into the existing building and involved flexible design concepts being implemented through a multi-phased process that allowed the library to remain functional with the bulk of the work occurred during the summer. The design solution reconfigures the main floor to provide an enlarged “Barnes and Noble” style café and informal study area at the “front door.” This area has electrical power and wireless internet access throughout and includes a number of collaboration stations that support a range of group gatherings and meetings. Two multi-seat media tables in this area include an integrated audiovisual system that allows students to plug in laptops for viewing on the flat panel display. Both floors include new group study rooms with laptop connections, a flat panel display and built-in sound system and controls for group collaboration and meetings. Many of the Learning Commons areas utilize furnishings in lieu of built-ins to accommodate future updates as needed. The design solution also envisions a future mezzanine level to function as a quiet study area.

Award: American School & University Architectural Portfolio Outstanding Design

 

Photo Credit: Larry Lefever Photography