By TERRI REUTER
Publications/public information coordinator,
Southern York County School District
Glen Rock, Pa. – Students, staff and community members helped break ground recently on the additions and alterations at Friendship Elementary School. The Southern York County School District invited the community to join school board directors and administrators at the groundbreaking ceremony of its 53 year-old elementary school.
“Thank you to the Board of Education, who had the foresight to do (these renovations),” Superintendent Thomas Hensley said. “Thanks to you, as teachers, parents and community members for your support, not only of the school, but of the District as well.”
Construction will consist of 74,000 square feet of renovations to the existing building along with several additions, totaling 26,000 square feet. These changes will provide 11 more classrooms, a new gymnasium, new mechanical and electrical rooms, new student restrooms, a greenhouse, and a new computer lab. All areas are designed to meet current educational standards.
The school, which also saw renovations in 1990, contains much of its original mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems. They are operating well beyond their useful life expectancy, said Wayne McCullough, Director of Administrative Services.
“The mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems in the renovated and new portions of the school will meet current building, life safety, and energy codes, and will result in energy savings,” he said.
Renovations will also include improvements to the school’s life safety features, including a building wide sprinkler system. In addition, the project is being designed to be “environmentally friendly,” as it incorporates materials, design and geothermal technology to help reduce energy usage. The project is also designed to obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
The cost for the construction project totals $16,935,114. This is the final piece of the district’s long-range plan, which began 14 years ago, with the construction of Shrewsbury Elementary School, McCullough said. Other projects included those at Southern Middle School, Southern Elementary School, and Susquehannock High School.
“We are proud and thankful for the design team, who has been recognized statewide,” Hensley said.
The district borrowed money at historically low levels, McCullough said. In addition, since most of the school’s original infrastructure will also be updated as part of the entire building project, the district qualifies for more state funding.
“Friendship has always been that unique, special community school,” he said. “This project will meet enrollment needs for the next 10 years.”
Upon its completion, Friendship will contain the same standards as all the other elementary schools within the Southern York County School District.
“This is history, boys and girls,” Principal Beth Koontz said. “We will watch the school being built around us. We are so looking forward to an outstanding school year. The quality of instruction continues to be outstanding and that’s our passion.”
Students, staff and community members join Principal Beth Koontz, center, pink hat, during the groundbreaking ceremony of Friendship Elementary School.