CRA was excited to be part of the groundbreaking ceremony for Steele Elementary this month, breathing new life into one of Harrisburg’s oldest schools. Closed 12 years ago, this historic school is getting a second life as the first step in a strategic plan to reorganize the school district’s facilities and return as a community school to its neighborhood in North Harrisburg, PA.
Funded by national stimulus grants, Steele, originally built 1914 will receive a complete renovation and additions. CRA is honored to have been selected to lead the design over the past few years. The design includes reorganizing the interior of the school for 21st century collaborative education with distinct “Grade Houses”, scaling the school down to a residential scale for children from Pre-K to 5th grade. The school also includes small group instruction, open collaborative program space, and dedicated support educational program spaces.
The exterior of the building is receiving a historic restoration following the National Department of Interior’s standards for restoration including historic window replacement, masonry and stone restoration based upon historic photo research.
To support the dedicated support educational program spaces a new 3 story addition will occur at the rear of the building, infilling a courtyard and removing non historic past additions to limit impact on the historic facades. The addition will include a new cafeteria, library, kitchen, art and music classrooms and allow for the renovation of the school’s gymnasium creating a 2 story open core of program spaces quickly accessed from each of the Grade Houses.
The building will further incorporate safety measures based upon national standards of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED), including an improved thermal envelope and energy efficient mechanical and electrical system replacement, improving the life cycle costs for the City of Harrisburg for years to come.
Renovations and additions will wrap up in the summer of 2024, for Harrisburg’s future leaders to return to Steele Elementary School for the 2024/2025 school year!