Upper Merion Area High School Recognized as an Outstanding Project in Learning By Design’s Fall 2022 Issue
SCHRADERGROUP (SG) is proud to announce that our recently completed project, Upper Merion Area School District’s Upper Merion Area High School, has been recognized as an Outstanding Project in Learning By Design’s Fall 2022 Awards of Excellence issue. We are very excited to have another SG project recognized as an award-winning facility for its incorporation of next generation learning space design and planning methodologies.
Each year, Learning By Design highlights the best in the educational design and construction market. Educational facilities are judged on the basis of innovation, community needs, interior design, sustainability, functional design, and next generation learning. The award-winning magazine is published three times a year and regularly recognizes the nation’s top K-12 and higher education projects and architecture firms.
We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Upper Merion Area School District (UMASD) and are honored to have this wonderful facility featured in this issue. In addition to the successful completion of Upper Merion Area High School (UMAHS), SG has also worked with the District on the design and construction of the Gulph and Caley Elementary Schools. We look forward to continuing our relationship with this amazing School District that focuses on providing next generation education and facilities to the children of the community!
After a community-engaged master planning process and subsequent successful new elementary school projects, Upper Merion Area School District (UMASD) began the process of creating a flagship facility to house the upper secondary programs for the District. A thorough planning process was utilized, including multiple user meetings and tours of state-of-the-art facilities throughout the United States.
The intent behind the facility is to provide career and higher education level spaces for the students of UMASD to engage in the 21st century learning activities of “research, develop, and present!” Multiple hi-tech industry work spaces as well as contemporary higher education spaces were studied in the process of the development of this unique facility.
The 345,000 SF facility connects to the existing middle school through the athletic and performance arts components to provide a full secondary campus. The resulting facility provides enriching opportunities for students from the traditional 6th grade through 12th grade ages.
A true “student commons” is the heart of the facility and will be an “all-day” area for multiple activities. The commons is a two-story open space with learning resources located on the second level to enhance the research and project-based components mixed with dining and food-based opportunities. After hours, the “commons” spaces provide pre- and post-activity support for both the athletic as well as the performing arts complexes. A full competition gymnasium and competition swimming venue is the connector to the middle school. The performing arts complex provides a complete 650-seat theater with balcony and all supporting performing arts spaces.
Student services, technology distribution, and support spaces are located between the commons space and the academic area. A three-story academic wing supports the core academic programs with a STEAM based center, multiple project and team-based spaces, and a three-story learning stair. The learning stair connects all core programs vertically to enhance the cross-pollination of learning activities. Transparency is a key aspect of the facility’s design and is utilized to promote the visual connection between each of the learning activities.
The new facility was constructed while the existing high school on site was still occupied. The existing facility is currently being demolished, and new playing fields will be constructed in its place. A unique site feature is an underground stream bisecting the site. The project chooses to highlight that challenge by exposing the stream at its outfall within a new outdoor amphitheater and teaching area. This outdoor space enhances internal building program opportunities by connecting them to the exterior. The stream provides for science-based learning activities directly on campus. The new facility allows the students of UMASD to have additional tremendous learning opportunities.
You can view the Spring 2022 issue of Learning By Design here. You can find the Upper Merion Area High School entry on page 138!
If you’d like to learn even more about the Upper Merion Area High School, click here.
SG is proud to have partnered with Upper Merion Area School District. Learn more about this amazing school district here.