Lowest Cost Schools

Cost Data for New Schools shows Central PA Architect continuing to provide most cost effective schools in Pennsylvania

Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, Architects of Mechanicsburg, PA has recently been recognized for their ability to design cost effective school facilities for their Clients. Beginning with the design of their first new Elementary School in Shrewsbury, PA in 1997, data published by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has shown the firm has designed the most cost effective facilities designed in the state each year, for Elementary Schools, Middle Schools, and High Schools.

The data published by PDE is known as Report 30, which shows actual construction cost results submitted to them through the process known as the Planning and Construction Workbook (PlanCon) which allows for the State to reimburse schools for their construction projects. The cost data provides a cost per square foot look at the new schools, and ranks schools by their cost. The analysis includes the structure cost only and removes Site Costs, Fixtures and Equipment and Professional Fees. It is recognized as an “apples to apples” comparison on new school construction costs since professional fees and site costs can greatly vary the cost of the project and virtually no impact to the cost of the building. The PlanCon Moratorium put a hold on the release of Report 30 and no known data was available after 2012.

PDE recently released the data for the new schools and Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates recently designed new schools were all recognized for their cost effective design.  They are as follows:

Understanding that our clients are the tax paying public, cost is an important factor, but not the only factor on the delivery of a new School building. Each of the buildings identified above provides outstanding educational spaces, 21st Century Learning Environments, quality materials, energy efficient systems and integrated technology throughout the buildings.

Hambright Elementary School

The new Hambright Elementary School is a 95,740 SF school housing 750 Students. The School is organized into three educational wings which serve two grade levels and contain classrooms and collaborative learning environments. Each wing is organized around a large academic commons which fosters collaborative learning and small group and individualized learning.

“In the three years that Hambright Elementary School has been open the district has given tours to dozens of other educators from outside of Penn Manor who have heard about the unique and beautiful design of the building”, states Dr. Michael Leichliter, Superintendent of Schools of Penn Manor School District, “particularly the emphasis placed on collaborative educational spaces. All who have visited are overwhelmed with the functionality of the school. The fact that it was the lowest cost elementary school in 2013 makes the beauty of the school and the unique and highly functional learning spaces even more impressive.”


Lewisburg Area High School

The new Lewisburg Area High School was constructed for 700 Students and is 182,481 SF. The new High School will be a LEED Gold facility and qualified for a $2 Million Alternative & Clean Energy Grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development. The building has a solar array on the academic wings to offset energy usage.

“We asked CRA to design a new high school in Lewisburg that could be built within the budget we set, and have been delighted with the result in terms of cost, quality, and aesthetics,” stated Kathy Swope, School Board President of Lewisburg Area School District.

Middletown Area High School

The new Middletown Area High School is 202,700 SF and was designed for 800 Students. The School was designed to include 21st Century student centered collaborative learning environments and features a central commons core which houses the media center, open cafeteria, outdoor learning area, gymnasium, auditorium and student resource center.

“Our most recently completed new Middletown Area High School opened in August 2016, and since that time, we have been visited by many school boards and administrative teams in the Commonwealth who have requested to tour our state-of-the-art facility. The design of the High School is open and spacious with flexible learning spaces throughout the building which are perfect for project-based learning and designed for maximum student use throughout the day.” states Dr. Lori Suski, Superintendent of Middletown Area School District, “Every space was designed in such a way to maximize utilization to the fullest extent. Quality materials and workmanship have produced an educational facility that is second to none in central Pennsylvania and a point of pride for our District. Notably, we are proud to say that through the collaborative effort of CRA and the continuous oversight of our project management team, we were able to construct our new High School in the most cost-effective manner possible. The project was completed within a rigorous timeline and with change orders coming in under one percent of the budgeted contingency.”

“We’re a little surprised sometimes when we see the cost in public education other districts are spending on schools that could be more efficient. We stick to a practice in how the building is designed that utilizes the efficiency of load-bearing masonry construction,” Beddia said, calling more expensive steel systems some districts opt to use “redundant.”

Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates is a full service architectural and planning firm headquartered in Mechanicsburg, PA with offices in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. With over 75 personnel the firm is a leader in educational design.

For more information please contact the firm at marketing@cra-architects.com or at 717.458.0272.

K-12 Experience

The firm has designed more than $3.5 Billion of educational projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

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