Bucks County Herald

Quakertown rededicates renovated high school

JOE FERRY



Visitors mingle in the hallway during the rededication of Quakertown Community High School.

With an emphasis on energy efficiency and student learning, the newly renovated Quakertown Community High School drew rave reviews during a rededication ceremony last week.

"This building serves a very important purpose to the community and will make a big difference in the lives of young people,” said state Sen. Bob Mensch. “Your environment is very important to learning, and this is spectacular."

The $75 million project, completed in four phases beginning in 2013, turned the aging facility on Park Avenue into a state-of-the-art learning center that houses 1,700 students in grades nine through 12. The building has been updated with science laboratories and pre-engineering classrooms in response to the district’s rigorous STEM curriculum and mission to prepare students for college and career readiness.

On Nov. 1, visitors marveled at how the renovations have given the high school more of a collegiate vibe, with wider hallways and “locker lobbies,” a Cyber Commons area where students can study independently or in groups, a lecture hall, a library and media center, a TV studio with an editing and control room, and a photography lab for digital courses.

Significant improvements have also been made in the performing arts, with the addition of a dance studio, black box theater and culinary program. Upgrades have also been made at Alumni Field and in the new sports complex behind the high school.

Before the latest high school improvement project began in 2013, renovations took place in 1966, 1972, 1988 and 2002. Talk of upgrading the high school again began in 2006 when a feasibility study determined it was needed.

In 2010, after an in-depth study of the high school was performed by The Architectural Studios, the school board approved the project.

"I am proud to have served on a board that had the foresight to invest money, not only into a facility that looks and functions well, but also a facility that is highly efficient when you look at what is behind the curtain, said school board President Paul Stepanoff.

The renovation project incorporated “green” concepts by using an underground geothermal heating and cooling system and a rooftop solar power system. The district is also saving money by using the latest LED technology in every light fixture, a 90-percent savings compared to incandescent bulbs, thick insulation to reduce energy costs, and new windows with twice the efficiency.

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