Quaker Valley School District Presents Findings for New High School

In 2020, we’re proud to continue advancing the work of past school board members, superintendents, and administrators while working to understand the needs and demands of our school district now and in the future.

In the fall of 2019, the Board hired Thomas and Williamson to evaluate plans for a new high school. Jon Thomas, president and co-founder of the firm, presented his findings, including initial cost estimates for a new school at a virtual board meeting on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.

“We are happy that this culmination of work has brought us to the point where we can share this extensive research with the community,” said School Board Vice President Jonathan Kuzma.

The evaluation by Thomas and Williamson included a detailed review of geotechnical information, program options, and next steps. Mr. Thomas provided thoughtful options related to the possible usage of the site and the possible components of the facility.

Their work concluded that the total estimated project costs for a new facility are $85-$95 million.

At a board meeting in March, the Board heard a facility update in which Thomas and Williamson calculated renovation and expansion costs at the current high school facility to cost $72-million. However, renovating and expanding the current high school would produce a sub-par result because the footprint of the building cannot change, the foundation of the building is inadequate for building upwards, and the floodplain we’re located in makes it impossible to expand outwards.

“There would not be space to provide quality learning environments that would best meet the needs of all students, foster collaborative learning environments, and promote the best technological and environmental spaces for students and staff.”

“The renovation and expansion alternative leaves the District with a larger, less efficient high school design than building on a new site,” adds Kuzma.

“The bottom line is that renovations could not relieve many of the current concerns,” said Andrew Surloff, Assistant Superintendent. 

To date, the District has completed much work including a demographic report, geotechnical studies, land surveys, and educational program pre-design work with BrainSpaces.

In 2019, the District hired Mr. Charlie Gauthier as the Director of Facilities and engaged the team with 2020 knowledge of the costs associated with the project, while leaning upon previous information as a springboard.

The District priorities are devoted to our students and staff as we wrap up a successful, yet complicated school year. Future conversations related to pacing and funding will be designated in the next few months.

 “Our next steps include issuing request for proposals (RFP) for architects and engineers, a construction manager, developing design criteria, engaging the community on conceptual design, developing construction documents and specifications, putting elements of the construction project out for bid, and conducting bid reviews,” said Charlie Gauthier, Director of Facilities.

“The District’s work is going to be very thoughtful and patient during this difficult time with COVID-19, but our intention to continue efforts to build a school that meets the needs of all students and better prepares them for the future remains our priority,” said Tammy A. Andreyko, Superintendent of Schools.

At their legislative meeting on Monday, April 27, 2020, the Quaker Valley School Board committed to not raising taxes this year.

“We are fortunate the School Board has led a strategic long term approach to serve the District’s capital needs.  Just as the District focused on our buildings for grades K-8, we are now turning our attention to the much needed construction of a new facility for grades 9-12,” said Scott Antoline, Director of Finance and Operations.