Knapp Elementary School, North Penn School District
The renovations and additions to Knapp Elementary School in the North Penn School District, Montgomery County, are nothing short of transformative. Built in 1955 with only a classroom wing added over 20 years ago, the building was long overdue for major renovations. The intent was to create a next generation school to support interactive learning; to provide enhanced learning environments with natural light; and to generate a new sense of pride for the school and the community from the moment you enter its doors.
The building design includes 13,200 square feet of additions and 64,800 square feet of renovations to the existing building to serve 700 students. The building renovations address ADA compliance issues and complete interior improvements throughout the school. The infrastructure and systems design incorporate energy efficient construction, all new lighting, HVAC, electrical systems, plumbing, technology, and fire alarm systems.
The existing school was configured with classroom wings on either side of central enclosed spaces that housed the administration offices, kitchen and cafeteria. As part of the renovation, a third classroom wing was added for grades 5-6 to accommodate the population and to eliminate the modular classrooms on-site. The central core was reconfigured to pull the dining commons directly across from the main entrance lobby and the roof structure was raised to introduce natural light into the space through clerestory windows. The library/resource center was relocated to the former cafeteria which now opens into a large group instruction area that is an extension of the dining commons. Internally connected to the two existing classroom wings and the third newly added classroom wing, these core spaces offer a variety of instructional areas in addition to small group instruction rooms provided in the classroom wings for pull-out instruction. The administration was relocated to the former library area which is directly adjacent to the main entrance that could now be secured.
To clearly identify the main public entrance to the school, the entry features a tall, glass enclosed volume further marked by the prominent entrance canopy leading to it. This serves as the parent drop-off area with a new entry to the side of the addition serving as a separate bus loop. Sufficient parking is provided in the existing parking lot for staff and visitors with the bus loop used for parking for off-hour events. Outdoor facilities include new paving and sidewalks, hardscape and softscape play areas, one play field, and open space.