Upper Merion Area School District’s Upper Merion Area High School Recognized as an Outstanding Project in American School & University’s Fall 2022 Architectural Portfolio
SCHRADERGROUP (SG) is proud to announce that our recently completed project, Upper Merion Area School District’s new Upper Merion Area High School, has received an Outstanding Project Award from American School & University for its Fall 2022 Architectural Portfolio.
SG is excited to have another project featured in this prestigious publication. We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Upper Merion Area School District (UMASD) and are honored to have this excellent school featured in this issue.
American School and University (AS&U) is a magazine dedicated to the planning, design, construction, retrofit, operations, maintenance, and management of education facilities. It is intended to showcase the latest trends, technologies, and strategies driving educational facilities and the market.
AS&U honors educational design projects each year through multiple design competitions. One of these competitions is the Architectural Portfolio, the premier showcase celebrating the best in education design.
After a complete 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 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 workspaces as well as contemporary higher education spaces were studied in the process of the development of this unique facility.
The 345,000 SF facility is connected to the existing middle school through the athletic and performing arts facilities 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 on the ground floor. After hours, the “commons” space will 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 a 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 tremendous additional learning opportunities.
You can view our entry in the Fall 2022 Architectural Portfolio issue of American School & University on page 73 here.
Learn more about the Upper Merion Area High School here.
SG is proud to have partnered with Upper Merion Area School District. Learn more about this great school district here.