Board hears community input on Knapp renovations

Architect+David+Schrader+presents+details+of+the+Knapp+renovation+project+to+the+North+Penn+School+Board.
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Board hears community input on Knapp renovations

Architect David Schrader presents details of the Knapp renovation project to the North Penn School Board.

Architect David Schrader presents details of the Knapp renovation project to the North Penn School Board.

Architect David Schrader presents details of the Knapp renovation project to the North Penn School Board.

Architect David Schrader presents details of the Knapp renovation project to the North Penn School Board.

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“It is extremely important that this happens. The school really has deteriorated over the years. I’m really proud that you guys have listened and really reacted to this situation.”

That’s how one parent addressed the North Penn School Board when they held an Act 34 Hearing at Knapp Elementary School on January 7th to lay out the major renovation project to the Knapp community.

The District is required by law to have a hearing on any major construction projects, but was more than happy to share developments with Knapp families and staff.

“We are really pleased of what we have to present this evening to the stakeholders of Knapp and to our School Board.””

— Superintendent Dr. Curt Dietrich

 

Over the past several years, a comprehensive audit was conducted on all NPSD buildings, to assess the needs of the District. These findings, along with concurrent studies, informed the Facilities and Operations Committee on how to move forward with renovations district-wide.

“Throughout this process, we recognized that Knapp Elementary School was always at the top of these priorities,” said Facilities and Operations Chair Jonathan Kassa.

Knapp was constructed back in 1955, with additions built in 1968 and 1998.

“Looking at those operation systems, the needs and the way the school was designed, we factored that in. It’s also extremely important to factor in the needs of students. Looking at the needs of students in 21st century education, how we design this is putting students at the center,” Board Director Juliane Ramic stated.

“Teachers were part of the design process, part of committees, teachers came in over the summer and got to see other things that might work. At the heart of all of that has been feedback from students,” Ramic added.

Architect David Schrader, a leader since the very beginning of the Knapp renovation, then gave a detailed presentation of what the future of Knapp Elementary could look like.

Schrader broke down specific aspects of what will be renovated such as “create secondary access drive to site, ADA upgrades, replace all lighting interior and exterior, provide air conditioning and dehumidification throughout building, upgrade plumbing drainage systems, replace fire alarm system, and replace technology systems.”

“What you should understand from this is that we are renovating about 64,475 square feet of the building, and we’re adding 13,080 square feet,” Schrader said. 

“What you should understand from this is that we are renovating about 64,475 square feet of the building, and we’re adding 13,080 square feet.””

— David Schrader, Architect

Some of the major aspects of the renovated Knapp will be a new driveway coming in from Knapp Road for a separate bus drop off area, a covered walkway area into a new entry point, and new Small Group Instruction, or SGI, areas meant for more intimate teaching with smaller groups of students.

The estimated total project cost for the Knapp project is $26,898,288.

“The project will be out to bid shortly, and we’ll know what the real costs are,” Schrader remarked.

Schraders’s presentation was extremely informative and thorough, so to read more and see before and after pictures of the Knapp renovation, click here.

Just like all Board meetings, the hearing concluded with an opportunity for members of the community to make public comment about the renovation project.

“I like the idea of the new school, but not the idea of the buses in the fields. It’s cutting our play room in half,” voiced one Knapp third grader named Esther.

“Thank you for your comment, Esther. I believe we have extra play areas somewhere else to make up for the lost space in the new bus drop off. So you will still have your play areas,” Board President Tina Stoll responded.

Another student, 4th grader Nadia, remarked that “in kindergarten, I had to go to the nurse’s office every day to use my inhaler because of the bad air in the school.”

The next North Penn School Board meeting will be the January action meeting on Thursday, January 16 at 7 p.m. at the Educational Services Center.