State High – 2020 Project of Distinction, A4LE National Design Awards

Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates (CRA) is proud to announce that the State College Area School District’s State College Area High School has been recognized as a “Project of Distinction” by the Association for Learning Environment’s (A4LE) annual Learning Environment Solutions (LEsolutions) National Awards that will be presented December 8th, 2020.

About State College Area High School – “State High”

The State High project included the renovation of the existing High School which was operating in two buildings (9-10 & 11-12) separated by Westerly Parkway in State College, Pennsylvania.  A detailed study explored multiple options including new construction on a new site, renovation options which connected both buildings, renovation and additions to one building.  The final solution was a renovation and major additions to consolidate all 9-12 students (2400 student capacity) to the South building and conversion of the North building to serve the “Delta School” (500 student capacity)  and the High Schools’ Athletic programs.

The project had a construction cost of $124,600,000 Million and included 57,000 SF of Renovation and 466,000 SF of new construction.  The average cost per square foot for the project was $166/SF.

With new State Legislation which governed school costs and the need for significant improvements at several other schools, the project was required to go through a referendum to move forward.  At that time in 2012, 14 of 15 referendums in the state has failed.  Through a very detailed and interactive stakeholder engagement process, the project was successful with an overwhelming 74% voter approval bringing the community together.

The completed U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold school incorporates a flexible 21st century design of academies, including Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEM), Health and Human Services, Arts and Humanities, Visual and Performing Arts, Business and Communications, and A “Democratic” 5-12 grade magnet school. The academies are designed around houses allowing for identity to develop in sectors of the building, breaking down the large overall size of the facility. A “Mentor by the Side” approach to education was discussed throughout the project creating an open atmosphere within the academies. These academies consist of classrooms wrapping flexible student break out areas of varying sizes. This approach allows State College the flexibility in accommodating individual to large group interactions.

To see the State High Submittal please click here.

About A4LE and LEsolutions Award

The LEsolutions Awards recognize learning environments that positively impact learning and teaching and that inspire change and forward progress.  To find more about the 2020 awards please follow this link:  Projects are rated by individual jury members on a numeric scale of 1-5 in the following categories:

  • School & Community Engagement
  • Educational Environment
  • Physical Environment
  • Process and Project

Each project has the potential of scoring 20 points.

A4LE is a non-profit whose sole mission is to improve the places where children learn, and they believe that great schools are the result of an interactive planning process.   The Association for Learning Environments believes that great schools begin with open dialog and deliberate planning. As such, the Association is committed to recognizing learning environments that positively affect the teaching and learning process while serving as an example of sound planning principles. They result in appropriate and effective design solutions that reflect the community to which they belong. These awards honor projects that stimulate systemic change in the educational system by addressing difficult questions, challenging the status quo, and raising expectations. They often embody great architectural design solutions, but their successful components and characteristics have been founded in an interactive process that engaged multiple stakeholders to create an educational environment that holds purpose and distinction within a community.

About Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates

We are a full service architectural, planning and interior design firm headquartered in Mechanicsburg, PA with offices in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.  We specialize in educational design and have completed over $4 Billion of educational design throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

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