Projects

Rossmoyne Elementary School

Mechanicsburg, PA

Rossmoyne Elementary is the first school to be built following the completion of the feasibility study for West Shore School District. Rossmoyne is a new elementary school built beside the previous 1950s-era school. The existing building was demolished upon completion of the new larger Kindergarten through Fourth grade elementary school.  The new building includes a robust technology infrastructure with wireless internet access throughout the building for the latest classroom visualization and 21st Century learning needs.

Community Connections

The new building includes enlarged and updated spaces which enhance the day-to-day educational activities in the school.  Several of these spaces were also designed with community functions in mind.  These areas reinforce the intent to provide the District and its residents with schools that are active and connected to the community.

School Safety

Measures to provide enhanced security for students, staff, and visitors include controlled building access points, a secure entrance vestibule adjacent to the new administration suite and cross-corridor doors that can separate community functions from the classroom areas of the building. The site includes separate drop-off areas for parents and busses.  These separate traffic loops improve safety by segregating the busses from other vehicular traffic.

Daylighting

All classrooms have lower window sills allowing students to see outside, providing larger windows, and bringing more daylight into the classrooms. These windows play a large role in lighting the classrooms, as all classrooms have natural light instead of solely relying on artificial lighting.

Building Organization

The building is divided into two levels within the classroom wing, with shared common spaces, such as the library, administration areas and nurse suite located on the first floor. The gymnasium doubles as the auditorium, with an integrated stage.   The First through Fourth grade classrooms are organized in stacked two-story classroom wings, with the First and Second Grade on the first floor, located directly below Third and Fourth Grade. Large and small group instruction areas are incorporated into the classroom wings.  Art, Music, STEAM, Guidance, and the Learning Commons are all located in the main connecting areas of the building.

The West Shore School District’s Director of Operations and Planning and Rossmoyne Elementary School’s principal sat down with RLPS Project Manager, Erin Hoffman, ALEP, to discuss what went into creating a flexible, future-ready elementary school and some of the building’s key features.

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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 to accommodate all of its faculty and desired programming. Located close to local York businesses and corporations, the program offered its enrolled students many advantages but needed contemporary classrooms, trading labs and support spaces with built-in flexibility to adapt as the curriculum advances. The design result was a five-story addition and renovations to house all business administration faculty in one building and facilitate active, hands-on learning experiences and spontaneous collaboration.

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 University

Mechanicsburg, PA

Library Renovations to Introduce Learning Commons

The initial phase encompassed focus groups, a facility review and an interactive design charrette to introduce mobile computer, group collaborative and other 21st century student learning features into Murray Library. An analysis of mechanical, electrical, plumbing and sprinkler systems, as well as code and accessibility reviews identified opportunities for energy efficiency, occupant comfort and accessibility improvements. The subsequent renovations incorporated Learning Commons into the existing infrastructure and involved flexible design concepts that could be implemented through a multi-phased process.

“RLPS successfully organized a team to integrate Learning Commons Spaces while allowing the library to remain functional with the bulk of the work occurring during the summer.”

Kathie Shaffer, Vice President of Operations; Messiah University

Breathing New Life Into Multiple Areas

The design solution reconfigured 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 their laptops for viewing on the flat panel display at the end of the table. Opposite the café is one of three “touchdown” station areas to support student walk-up use for email retrieval, library catalog review and web surfing.

Both floors include new group study rooms with laptop connections, flat panel display and built-in sound system and controls for group collaboration and meetings. Numerous informal private and group work tables with power and internet connections are also provided throughout.

Meeting Current Needs with an Eye to the Future

This update project, funded in part through the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), provided needed space for complementing programs, such as testing and learning /writing centers, to be assimilated into the library.  The expanded student run cafe, Cafe Diem, helps to keep students and staff on campus, provides student employment and now serves as a valuable revenue resource for the College. To enable Messiah College to adapt to continually evolving technologies, the Learning Commons areas utilize modular 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