The Chartiers Valley School District is comprised of the four communities of Collier and Scott Township and the Boroughs of Bridgeville and Heidelberg in the South Hills suburbs of Pittsburgh. The District selected IKM to plan and design a new middle school and renovations to the high school.
Originally occupied in 1973 as a high school, the School District’s current middle/senior high school complex has undergone minor renovations over the years primarily to repair building systems and to accommodate new grade alignments. The last such renovation occurred in 2007.
In time for the 2017 Fall Semester, the 130,000 square foot, free-standing middle school opened to students. The site sits on the District-owned land adjacent to the existing middle/high school facility and creates a campus setting to accommodate student needs under a 21st Century pedagogy.
Through an immerse stakeholder engagement process, the IKM team worked with more than 70 parents, students, community members, teachers, administrators and school board members in multiple “collaborative discovery” planning and design workshop sessions to learn what is important to them in a school and develop a list of guiding principles.
Today, the new Chartiers Valley Middle School is the School District’s answer to the challenge posed by the community to think differently about the way they educate middle school students. The facility employs a model of small learning communities (SLCs) to support project-based learning and interaction, a concept that has been gaining support and popularity in K-12 systems on the west coast. It is a truly learner-centered environment that prioritizes the amenities and activities that fuel curiosity, discovery, and an intrinsic love of learning. Leaving the steel, concrete, and mechanical and electrical systems exposed meant that IKM could spend money where it impacts the delivery of education the most.
The middle school includes an academic tower based on the small learning community model, a three-story high student commons with café/bistro style food service, centralized administration, state of the art STEM facilities, outdoor learning terraces, a new competition gymnasium, and shared performing arts facilities.