In 2014, EI Associates began working with the Lehighton Area School District and stakeholders within the community to conduct a comprehensive District-Wide Feasibility Study. Results from the study presented a need to consolidate the District’s four aging elementary schools into one, high-performance Elementary Center.
The newly constructed, 21st Century Elementary Center meets the District’s educational program needs and requirements. The School District determined from the beginning planning stages of the project that the educational program for the new Elementary Center would provide a parity of learning potential, less duplication of core and support areas, less duplication of support staff, more available resources and efficiency while promoting team teaching and unity for students and staff.
The new Elementary Center was constructed adjacent to the existing Lehighton Area High School and District Administration Office on a 91.5-acre campus. The new facility was designed to house grades K-2 in the right wing of the building and grades 3-5 in the left wing of the building. Both wings share common areas that are self-sufficient and appropriate in scale creating two, small intimate learning communities. The new 165,000 square foot facility that replaces four existing and aging facilities will consume less energy than the existing structures. The project eliminated fuel oil and liquid propane gas as primary energy sources in lieu of natural gas, which is anticipated to reduce energy consumption by an estimated 4,685,179 kbtu annually. Special cost saving features for the new Elementary Center include: High-Performance HVAC system, energy efficient lighting, building orientation providing natural daylighting, a modern thermal envelope further contributing to heating and cooling savings, and fixtures exceeding building code requirements to reduce water use by over 30% annually. The District plans to use the facility as an educational tool demonstrating the environmental and energy benefits of sustainable design and building.
The Elementary Center was designed to achieve a minimum of LEED Gold Certification. As a result, EI Associates was able to assist the Lehighton Area School District in applying for and receiving an Alternative and Clean Energy Grant totaling $2,000,000 for their new Elementary Center. The energy efficient design and construction of the new Elementary Center will provide the District with energy savings and efficient operation for years to come.