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Plans outlined for Slippery Rock High School renovation

Mark Scheffler of architecture firm DRAW Collective, right, shows plans for the renovation of Slippery Rock Area High School at the school board meeting on Monday night. William Pitts/Butler Eagle. 09/25/2023.

SLIPPERY ROCK TWP -- The Slippery Rock Area School Board got to see the most-recent plans for the renovation of the high school at its meeting Monday night, Sept. 25.

On hand to present the updated plans were Mark Scheller of local architecture firm DRAW Collective, as well as Jon Thomas of Pittsburgh-based project management company Thomas & Williamson.

Thomas estimated the price tag for the high school renovation project at $29 million, including $15.2 million for the much-needed infrastructure improvements and $1.2 million for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance improvements.

Contracts for the renovation project were approved at a meeting Sept. 11.

The top priority of the renovation project, as outlined by Scheller, is to overhaul the high school’s aging and outdated mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. This includes adding more ramps and toilet stalls compliant with the ADA.

Other parts of the renovation plan are designed to, as Scheller phrased it, “being able to deliver the 21st century curriculum” to students.

These upgrades include renovating the kitchen and cafeteria to provide a more “food court”-like experience such as one at a shopping mall, with a pizza station, an entree station, and a salad station, as well as an outdoor seating area.

Security also is a major concern of the renovation project, and the plan calls for a “secure vestibule” in which visitors will “buzz in“ through an intercom before being allowed into the building.

“We really think that's going to improve the safety in today's world,” Scheller said. “That is something that we take very seriously.”

Superintendent Alfonso Angelucci is confident that current students will not recognize their school by the time the renovation is complete -- and that will be a good thing.

“They're going to notice a difference in lighting. They’re going to notice a difference in the overall instructional environment,” Angelucci said. “Right now we do not have air conditioning in the high school.”

A similar and simultaneous project to renovate the middle school, where Monday night’s meeting took place, is estimated to cost $4 million, according to Angelucci.

While the current schedule for the high school renovation is tentative, the school district hopes to get started during the summer of 2024 and finish by 2026. Bids for the project are expected to go out by March 2024.

DRAW Collective also is assisting Knoch School District in its plans to renovate Knoch High School.

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