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District Approves Planning Contract

July 29, 2008

By Dena Pauling, The Centre Daily Times, State College, Pa.

Jul. 29–STATE COLLEGE — The State College Area School District will spend $276,390 this year in planning for its future facilities, under an agreement approved Monday night.

The amount is what the district plans to pay DeJong, a Dublin, Ohio-based planning firm, to assess the district’s facilities and develop a new master plan that will identify and prioritize the district’s future construction projects.

“I think we are all thinking of like mind on this one — that the overall success of this plan and what we will understand sitting here a year from now will depend on how well we do in terms of capturing community input and preparing the stakeholders in this process,” board member Jim Pawelczyk said.

The board approved the contract by a 6-0 vote Monday night with three members absent.

Although not required to complete a master plan, a $57,500 high school education specifications plan was added to the scope of De- Jong’s work and included in the total cost.

According to the agreement, the specs will examine 10-year enrollment projections, facility information and capacity, previous studies, program information and floor plans — all for the high school.

“This will create for us a document that will give us some general guidance of how to proceed on a high school renovation and will give us accountability, if you will, of being able to trace any square footage requirement back to an educational requirement,” Pawelczyk said.

DeJong will visit each school and hold five community meetings to garner input on the master plan, in addition to three community dialogues at various stages of the planning, the agreement states. A steering committee with school representatives and community members will help guide the process.

A rough timeline, included in the contract, shows that planning will start next month and a final report is expected to be completed by March. The report will offer recommendations for each facility and will be presented to the board, the contract states.

The facilities assessment makes up $89,500 of the total cost but won’t strictly be about the buildings.

“It will look at issues such as the size of the classrooms at Ferguson Township, particularly the older section of the building, and how adequate are they to support the elementary educational curriculum,” physical plant director Ed Poprik said. “It will integrate the physical building data with the end use of the spaces.”

CEO William DeJong will serve as principal-in-charge and as the primary contact along with the project director. The planning team also includes 14 other members and associates.

The last districtwide master plan for State College was completed in 2001.

Dena Pauling can be reached at 231-4619.

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Centre Daily Times, State College, Pa.

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