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Renovation: A Look Inside Quaker Valley Middle School

Check out photos of the building, which is currently under construction.

Although the new and improved  won't be ready when students return for the new school year Sept. 4, district residents can still catch an early glimpse of the ongoing progress.

School officials on Monday toured the three-story building, which is in the midst of extensive renovations in Sewickley. 

Tim Glancy, the project's general contractor, said the renovations are moving along with a completion date set for Nov. 30. Students officially start classes Jan. 7 in the building. 

Scott Smith, construction manager, said one benefit of starting the project about  is carpenters and workers are finishing up other school jobs and available to work at the site.

“We’re seeing a huge influx of construction workers right now…it’s great," Smith said. 

The includes the addition of a new 505-seat auditorium similar to the O'Reilly Theater as well as a new wellness center next to the gymnasium equipped with treadmills, elliptical machines and other fitness equipment.

Superintendent Joseph Clapper said the fitness equipment wasn’t budgeted in the project, but was funded thanks to $60,000 in donations. He said the equipment will be available for student use before and after school, as well as for community use.

The building also includes an for orchestra, band, chorus and the arts, in addition to family consumer and IT classes. Other features include a manufacturing and pre-engineering area; artificial turf and a 6-foot between the field and the road; and safety designs for anyone entering the building. Principal offices, a guidance suite and the nurse's office are in a centralized location at the building entrance.  

"It's looking great," said Sean Aiken, middle school principal.

Clapper said a lot of attention is paid to detail.

Plenty of natural light pours into the school, courtesy of an abundance of windows. New windows have been cut into the building, said Joseph Marrone, director of administrative services, and to conserve energy, lights automatically turn off in the rooms, he said.

Once completed, the middle school will house students in sixth through eighth grades. Seventh- and eighth-grade students will continue at this fall same as they did during the 2011-12 year.

Clapper said students will get a tour prior to starting classes in order to get acclimated to their new building.

“Mostly they don’t know the building, and the eighth graders are a year and a half removed from it,” he said.

In the past couple weeks, Aiken said students and parents who are new to have also been given a walk through the changes that are happening this school year due to the construction.

While teachers, staff, students and parents have been working through the transition, Aiken admits he's looking forward to having the entire family under one roof in the new building. 

"I think we’re going to be even that much more thankful. It's going to be amazing to be back," Aiken said. 

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walter August 28, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Let's be honest here. This has been a mess from the start. The Board and Administration fumbled and instead of doing the right thing and waiting they moved forward impacting the education of our youth. Many of these kids will have been in the Ambridge School District for 2.5 of their first 8 years in this district. Residents pay Quaker Valley taxes for the ability to have the kids leave middle school and go to the Sewickley Library, YMCA or to other known locations in town. This would never be tolerated in other districts such as NA, Mt. Lebo or any other school district of distinction. They would provide trailers/sectional building. I am challenging our residents to begin to look closer at what the district has been up to. Teachers hired without interviews, nepotism, curriculum inadequacies/inequalities and more. Those parents that complain the most, get the most. When you try to go before the school board, you are shot down unless you preregister your issue. That would never be tolerated at NA, Mt Lebo or like districts. No such thing as free speech here - right Jack. . I understand that no person nor organization is perfect, but let's stop living the lie and pay attention. They want to renovate the High School so they came up with this silly driveway/drop off issue. I honestly do not care about the driveway/drop off, but if you think this isn't the step to something much bigger, you are mistaken. Right Dr. Clapper? I would have never moved here if I had known the truth.
resident September 04, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Some students will spend their years of middle school in ambridge, then their high school years at ambridge as well. I hear they plan on doing construction that will impact the same class of students. what poor planning.
SWYKLocal September 04, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Dr. Clapper said at the QVSD planning session that he didn’t know how to create a strategic plan for one year let alone a create long term plan for our children’s education. If he were a CEO of a corporation, he would have been let go. Our school district is out of control and we all need to step up and let them know who is in charge. Student cost per resident is much higher than the school districts we are often compared with. Millage means nothing. The school curriculum is average at best and many parents send their kids to tutors to compensate for the poor teaching in some major subject areas. Yet the district will take credit for the better than average test scores our children achieve on state and national level tests. We are paying a premium and our community deserves a premium level education for our children. Please get involved, so we can begin to address these issues.
Larissa Dudkiewicz September 05, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Resident - Parents have raised these concerns and have been assured that a high school project won't happen for at least another five years. This means middle school students going through this renovation now shouldn't be affected by another project. Walter - I encourage you to attend the next school board meeting to air some of your concerns. The public gets an opportunity to speak on agenda items at the start of the legislative meetings and there is a second chance to speak at the end. As for pre-registering your questions, the board does ask that personnel comments be submitted in writing for consideration five days before.
walter September 18, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Thanks Larissa - yes - I have attended meetings in the past and have been told I can't ask the question or that a response would not be given because it was not put into writing before hand. This is not done at NA, MT. Lebo, Moon Area, USC, NH - no other place does this. The middle school kids already were shipped to Ambridge while the elementary schools were renovated. That is at least 2.5 years for some of these kids (however, not the children of the School Board Directors). Other districts add a trailor or renovate a section at a time. Do you know that teachers were hired to teach without having to do a practical interview(a warm body will do), and those teachers were placed in the average kids classroom(they begin to track based on a second grade test, unless you scream loud enough). This while an experienced teacher(suddenly the middle school principal and sister of a Board Director) pulled out kids that needed more than grade level work. This is insane. Do you know that some language arts classes of average kids had to use a photo copied novel. Not the advanced kids, the average had to use a photo copy of a novel(sure it was a copy right issue). Are you serious - Quaker Valley? They have no true test program to see if a kid is truly gifted - it is on recommendation. Scream or pay higher taxes - you are then likely to have a gifted kid. Pathetic and true.
walter September 18, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Check the record - they have more advanced classes than average classes in elementary and middle school. Really, Quaker valley is that much above the national average. maybe, 1 2 or 3 kids but in QV it is 60%. INSANE.
Joseph Hess December 14, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Be quiet I love QV. Its one of the best schools in the country and are you trying to say Ambrigde is a bad place it isn't, watch what your saying.

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