The School Board voted to approve the schematic design for the new Patrick Henry School and Recreation Center on Thursday.
The design will now be presented to the City for the Preliminary Site Plan Submission this month before being presented to the Planning Commission in December for final input. Construction on the site will begin in April 2017 and the building is scheduled to open in fall 2018.
The approved design consists of three floors stacked on the far side of the property away from North Latham Street and away from Taney Avenue. Playground designs have been initiated, as has the design for the Recreation Center.
The Design Review Team, made up of staff from the City’s Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities as well as ACPS, will now explore cost options. Keller CM will work independently of a cost estimator to ensure that the team is working with the most accurate numbers and cost estimates possible. No final cost has yet been determined for the project, but will be made publicly available as soon as it is.
The iterative design process has seen the size of the project expand and contract as the architect works to accommodate all the spaces required in accordance with the Educational Specifications. Over the course of the project, the school has ranged from an original estimate of 123,000 square feet before the Design Phase began and before the design constraints were explored during this phase, to 160,000 square feet when all design considerations were initially added. The final schematic design has the school at 137,000 square feet and the Recreation Center at just over 18,000 square feet, although these may change again slightly during the City’s review process.
The reasons for the addition of space above the initial projection included the need to widen the ceilings and walls, and add additional hallways, exits and entrances for safety purposes and to be able to hold more weight, once Moseley Architects P.C. created a three-floor design. In addition, some efficiencies of space simply cannot be added into the design due to the proximity of the new building to the existing building on the front side of the site, and a Dominion Power line at the rear of the new building, which together create constraints on the design.
In some places the walls have had to be widened by approximately two feet to be able to hold the floors above them and support retaining walls dug into the north east side of the site. While this addition will have a nominal impact on the overall cost, according to City and schools staff, it has made the school appear as if it has a bigger square footage in the final schematic design than the original estimated design.
The capacity of the building has also changed over the course of the project. Initial capacity was put at 800 students. However, the School Board recommended that the number be increased to 900 students based on their enrollment projections.
On September 29, the School Board will be presented an update on the the new Patrick Henry building, to include a discussion on the cost of the project. The construction and project managers continue to work aggressively to stay within budget, however any potential additional costs may be covered by a reconsideration of the need to add capacity to Polk” said Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley.
The School Board requested that the final design be flexible so that they can either place pre-K students or elementary students in six of the classrooms. The same amount of classroom space can accommodate more elementary school students than pre-K students, thereby increasing capacity without increasing the overall square footage from that presented in the final schematic design.
Given the recent addition at Polk, adding more students would continue to strain our resources and common spaces, like the lunch room. Without a full modernization at Polk, another addition would be tough on our staff and students,” said James K. Polk Principal Pree Ann Johnson.
The final design will be approved in January by the City during the final Site Plan Submission.
Project Timeline to Date:
June 11, 2015: School Board approved construction of the new building
June 23, 2015: City Council approved neighborhood Recreation Center approach
September 2015: Awarded Project Management (PM) Contract
January 2016: School Board discussed changing capacity from 800 to 900 students
February 2016: Design team began to develop schematic designs–
March 2016: Development Special Use Permit (DSUP) process began
May 2016: Selected design concept advanced by project team
June 2016: Keller Construction brought on board over the summer to explore these cost options – they will work independently of a cost estimator to ensure that the team is working with the most accurate numbers and cost estimates possible
June 2016: Parent focus group to solicit input on some of the aesthetics and environment the new school should provide
June, July and August, 2016: Advisory Group meetings were held in to review the final design including floor plans and site plans in detail
June 24, 2016: Concept II Submission was made to the City and comments were received in July 2016–
August 11, 2016: Completeness Submission was made to the City and comments were received in September
August 2016: The Design Review Team also met with the Playspace Technical Advisory Team (PTAT) to review plans for play space at the site
September 2016: Design Review Team met with Arts Commission to discuss the arts spaces in the building
September 15, 2016: Schematic design approved
September 20, 2016: Preliminary Site Plan submission is due
September 22, 2016: Back-to-School Night presentation at Patrick Henry Elementary School
September 29, 2016: School Board scheduled to receive an update on the new Patrick Henry building, to include a discussion on the cost of the project
April 2017: Construction begins
September 2018: New school building opens to students