Phase I in Detail
The study also revealed that the Upper School and the original segment of the Alter Middle School were in need of the most expansion and investment in the infrastructure, which is why the re-building of this complex has quickly become a priority for Phase I. In addition to being LEED certified, the new Upper School and Middle School will provide state of the art learning opportunities for our students. To be more specific:
- The Upper School has experienced the greatest growth in students, faculty and program, yet the building has been updated the least since its construction. Engineering studies proved that necessary infrastructure upgrades over the next 10 years would cost $15 million.
- The same engineering analyses show that to build new is more cost effective and less disruptive than to renovate and add on. The total difference in cost is only about 8% of the total Middle/Upper School project cost.
- With an additional 8% investment, the Middle/Upper School will gain accessible, sustainable, well secured, well lit, flexible teaching and community space to serve our students and teachers for the next 75-100 years. All studies show that the better the teaching space, the more successful the student.
- Recycling and reusing existing materials will help us reach Gold LEED certification. Traditional stone will be used for the public sides (parking lot and Morris Road)
of the buildings while including an increased use of glass will allow natural light into the classrooms.
- Building new also provides the out of classroom space needed for the Middle and Upper School to take full advantage of the best and most enduring feature of the GA academic experience: close student-teacher relationships.
Another highlight of Phase I is the dedication of six acres to reforestation and the development of a wet meadow along the Wissahickon, which will include outdoor classrooms for use by a variety of programs in our PreK-12 curriculum (as illustrated on the prior page). Environmentally, the wet meadow in conjunction with the restructured athletic complex will be engineered to capture rainwater on the upper fields and then regulate and cleanse its flow to the Wissahickon Creek. We are confident that the wet meadow, and its tie to the new buildings, will become GA’s “signature” statement, a curricular, recreational, and environmental combination no other school has or can have. In this regard, a great idea for GA is evolving into a great idea for our surrounding community as well.