New Upper School and Community Spaces
Logos Academy, an independent, Christ-centered school in York, Pennsylvania, started with 14 kindergarten and first-grade students. It has since grown to welcome approximately 275 students and their families regardless of faith or financial capacity in grades K-12. With the program growth including grades 9-12, Logos Academy needs a new, larger home for its Upper School as well as additional campus amenities for its growing community. Through renovations and additions on an adjacent building site, Logos Academy will have an expanded campus that will have the ability to house up to 200 additional students, along with community spaces to support the diverse downtown community which surrounds it.
The expansion will provide much-needed space for high school instruction, as well as the health and physical education program for K-12 students, and community space for events and meetings. Logos Academy will gain instructional space for visual arts, a fully equipped science lab, and additional office spaces. Furthermore, 10 classrooms will be returned to the original K-8 facility, allowing the Lower School to serve more students.
Finding Space for 200 High School Age Students in an Urban Setting
Bounded by public roads and urban infrastructure, the new home for the upper school and community spaces is right across the street from the Logos Academy lower school. The design concept had to work within a limited footprint to provide an engaging learning environment. Care was also given so that the new building expanded Logos Academy’s existing campus and respected the surrounding community fabric.
Previously, the buildings on the adjacent site housed a former YMCA gymnastics program, warehouse space, a gas station, and a Cadillac car dealership. This dealership was built in the 1930s with a distinctive Art Deco showroom facade, one of the last surviving building facades of this style in downtown York. Logos Academy intends to salvage this historic showroom architecture transforming the space into a central gathering space for its campus and outside community groups.
Creating Contemporary Learning Spaces in Historic Structures
Through renovation and new construction, Logos Academy will breath new life into this urban property. When completed, the historic building will house new classrooms, a fully equipped science lab and creator space along with a new academic support office space. New portions of the building will include a full-size gymnasium, gallery and a student café which will flow through operable doors into an outdoor urban garden.
The classroom areas within the historic building will house a fully equipped science lab and creator space as well as academic classrooms. These spaces will be oriented around a sky-lit, central student forum space which will allow incidental collaboration between students and their professors. The classrooms will be flexible with movable walls and visual connections to the central forum. The classroom design is driven by Logos Academy’s commitment to a classical education model with features such as Harkness tables incorporated into the design.
Maintaining Connections with York City
Because Logos Academy is located in downtown York, PA, the design reflects the academy’s commitment to the urban community and the activities expected to take place on the expanded campus. To serve as a downtown resource, specific public-use spaces include the gallery, community room, gymnasium, café and urban garden. This connection, as well as student and staff safety, was key in designing the school with appropriate adjacencies and access. The classroom wing within the historical building, where students spend most of their time, has the ability to be separated from public functions which may be taking place in the community areas of the building.
Assisting with Innovative Funding Sources and City Approvals
The RLPS team is working with multiple project partners to pursue funding to make Logos Academy’s vision a reality. Potential funding sources include the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program, a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant, a York County Community Foundation Sustainability Grant, and a grant from the York County Land Bank Authority. RLPS is also committed to develop project specifications that support the Logos Academy Equity Management Plan.
We provided concept renderings for Logos Academy’s Capitol Campaign for the project. These renderings will also be used in presentations to the City of York’s Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) since the project site is located within a downtown historic district. The renderings will assist in highlighting the art deco façade of the former Cadillac Dealership and illustrate how the renovations and additions blend seamlessly into the surrounding downtown fabric.