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

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

This new school replaces the 1950s era elementary school. The new K-8 configuration helps ease overcrowding at Wheatland Middle School. Classrooms are arranged on two floors, with the younger grades on the first floor. The kindergarten classrooms are paired to share a common area for teacher storage and student bathrooms. Flexible learning spaces, furniture solutions and building-wide WiFi support continually evolving teaching practices. The project, registered for LEED Silver certification, was partly funded by federal grants.

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

 

Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography