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

Columbia Public Library

Columbia, PA

A two-story addition and interior renovations support programming objectives and provide handicap accessibility throughout the library. The interior updates, incorporating flexible furnishings to support 21st century library functions, focus on the main lobby, circulation desk and meeting spaces. The design also includes an exterior reading terrace.

Photo Credit:  Nathan Cox Photography

New Holland Elementary

New Holland, PA

This project expanded Summit Valley Elementary School to accommodate kindergarten through 3rd grade students who were previously housed in a separate facility (the former New Holland Elementary School). Renovations involved relocating and expanding the library and art room, as well as 16 new classrooms, gymnasium and administrative suite. A new mechanical room with a four-pipe mechanical system allows the systems in the new addition to operate without affecting the existing building system.

 

Photo Credit: Larry Lefever Photograph

Lititz Elementary

Lititz, PA

Building a new elementary school on the existing 2.5 acre site in downtown Lititz required extensive coordination between the design team, school board officials, the district’s buildings and grounds committee, a site research committee and a public residents’ committee as well as a number of local authorities. The design for the new, three-story K-6 school preserves the historic downtown area while blending with the surrounding neighborhood residences. Despite the site constraints, the compact design solution achieves the district’s programming objectives with modern amenities and spacious facilities, incorporating flexible, multi-purpose areas to maximize available space.

Award: Smart Growth Leadership Award; Lancaster County Planning Commission; Lancaster, PA

Photo Credit: Larry Lefever Photography

Palmyra Area High School

Palmyra, PA

New additions include 15 classrooms, a gymnasium, weight room, library/media center, cafeteria and kitchen, administrative suite, district office, band and choral suite and technology education area. Renovations include locker areas, art classrooms and natatorium. The renovated building features a 25 by 92 foot skylight to bring daylight into the core of the existing 1960s school and a new, circular two-story lobby area with a bridge that links the new 9th grade classrooms to the existing building.

 

Photo Credit: Larry Lefever Photography

Columbia Jr-Sr High School

Columbia, PA

This project addressed the District’s needs for additional classrooms, as well as functional renovations to comply with current IBC Code and Accessibility requirements. A primary objective of the project is accommodating changing curriculum needs through new shared spaces such as a Media Center and renovations to update the gymnasium, staff offices, lobby, corridors and student lockers. The project also involved new mechanical, lighting and fire alarm systems.

 

Photo Credit: Larry Lefever 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

Hand Middle School

Lancaster, PA

One of seven middle-secondary urban schools, Hand was originally built in 1924 and expanded in 1927. The District identified Hand as a “turn-around” school prompting much needed changes to programming and infrastructure. The interior was demolished down to the structural frame for major system and infrastructure replacement and the historic exterior facade included replacement of windows, doors and roofing. The design captures roof storm water and diverts it from an overburdened combined storm and sanitary system. The project was partly funded by federal grants promoting sustainable initiatives and development of Science and Technology curriculum.

Award: LEED Silver Certification

 

Photo Credit: Larry Lefever Photography

Elizabeth Martin School

Lancaster, PA

Replacement School with New K – 8 Configuration

This new school, located in a dense, working-class residential neighborhood in Lancaster city, replaces the 1950s era school for kindergarten through 5th grade students. The new K-8 configuration will help ease overcrowding at one of the middle schools and will serve as a model if the District decides to convert other schools to K-8 configurations in the future.  The new school was constructed behind the old building, which was subsequently razed to allow for better traffic flow and additional parking.

Breaking Down the Scale of the Building

The new Elizabeth Martin School has three classrooms per grade including one dedicated special education classroom per grade. The new building is divided into two levels within the classroom wing, with shared commons spaces, such as the library, administration areas and nurse suite located on the upper level at the main, controlled entrance.

The kindergarten classrooms are paired to share a common area for teacher storage and student bathrooms with fixtures designed for smaller children. The 1st through 8th grade classrooms are arranged on two floors, with the younger grades on the first floor. Two music and two art classrooms are located in the main spines connecting the classroom wings.

Flexible Spaces for Multi-Use Practicality

Flexible learning spaces, furniture solutions and building-wide WiFi support continually evolving teaching practices. The cafeterias for 1st through 5th grade and 6th through 8th grade are separated by a folding partition wall. When opened, this space can function as a large group area. The main gymnasium will double as the auditorium. A second fitness area is provided to accommodate additional space needs for physical education classes.

LEED Silver Certified

The project, which earned LEED silver certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), is partly funded by federal grants promoting sustainable initiatives. Sustainable design features include motion senors for lights, low flow plumbing fixtures and daylighting in all classrooms. Throughout the building, lower window sills and larger windows were utilized to promote daylight and outdoor connections.

Award: American School & University 2015 Architectural Portfolio, Outstanding Design Combined Level School

Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography

Lingle Avenue Elementary

Palmyra, PA

This new K–5 elementary school includes a kindergarten center serving the entire district. Set up as a “school within a school,” it consists of two single-story, eight-classroom pods with shared spaces connecting the pods including a multi-purpose room and kitchen serving area. The two-story primary grade wing and kindergarten center are connected with shared spaces including a library and “cafetorium.” The building has a geothermal system for heating and cooling and features bamboo flooring in the gymnasium.

Award: LEED Silver Certification

 

Photo Credit: Larry Lefever Photography