Altoona Area School District is a large, urban school district that encompasses nearly 60 square miles in Central Pennsylvania. Its almost 2,000 high school students were attending classes in two buildings—one built in 1927 and the other in 1972. The buildings, connected by a series of pedestrian bridges in the middle of downtown Altoona, were slowly becoming unable to serve the student population. The District decided to move forward with a renovation and addition project to improve the learning environment for their high school students. Working with the architect, SitelogIQ planned a construction program that takes into account the urban environment and the need to construct during the school year and maintain ongoing school operations. The new 440,000-square-foot school will accommodate up to 2,400 students and will include a theater, business center, outdoor classrooms, and a rooftop greenhouse.
The district is taking advantage of having a construction site on premises by participating in a robust student education program coordinated by SitelogIQ. The program engages high school students through presentations, discussions, and demonstrations. The students, who are on the cusp of making career decisions, are made aware of the exciting possibilities in design and construction industry careers, which will hopefully lead to students choosing a construction-related path. “These educational experiences have sparked our students’ interest, curiosity, and focus on the future,” says Andrew Neely, principal of Altoona Area High School. “Our students watch and learn as the various trades come together to quite literally build the future of Altoona.”