UPPER DARBY — The Upper Darby School Board and members of the public, during Tuesday’s Finance and Operations Committee meeting, were provided with an update on the date markers and phasing of the planned renovation of Aronimink Elementary School.
The $27.2 million project includes the renovation of a portion of the existing 85-year-old school building and the construction of a 36,000 square-foot addition. The project will increase the number of classrooms from 15 to 34 and raise student enrollment from approximately 250 to 700 students. A new full-size gymnasium for youth sports and neighborhood events will be built, and the school will serve as temporary housing for the district-wide Kindergarten Center.
Mike Kelly and Ryan Orr of KCBA Architects said the approval process is moving forward. At the end of 2019 two major approvals were received. The first was from the Delaware County Planning Commission and the other from the Upper Darby Township Zoning Hearing Board pertaining to the height of the addition being taller than allowed for that R-1 zoned district (approximately 50 feet to the maximum 35 feet).
Kelly said talks with Upper Darby Township have been favorable and a presentation to Upper Darby Council is anticipated for the March 18 meeting.
It was also stated that approval from PennDOT on stormwater and sewer is anticipated.
“Conversations with officials and the township engineers have been very productive,” Kelly said. “I am very encouraged.”
The school board approved Act 34 materials and recent steps have been taken in relation to PlanCon funding, including discussions wit the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Kelly said he, Orr, Schools Superintendent Dr. Daniel McGarry and others met at Aronimink with members of the student council and teachers to gather information about what they wished to incorporate in the new school.
“They looked at samples of furniture and student desks,” Kelly said. “It was great seeing the students interact and give such good feedback. The level of excitement was unbelievable.”
The actual phasing of the project includes construction of the addition from 2020 to 2021, and then the systematic renovation of the building floor by floor.
The district administration offices will then move out freeing the first and second floor and renovations will be completed in those areas.
Students will be moved into the new addition while work is being completed.
Students will then be moved from the middle to the upper floor, renovate the middle floor, and the lower level will then be completed.
Expected site work including parking lots is the summer of 2022 with the students moving onto their new learning spaces at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.
The renovation to the existing building will include new paint, flooring, ceilings, light fixtures, improved storage, and more.
The anticipated schedule includes submitting construction documents for estimates, and a presentation to the school board in April.
The project will go to bid in May with planned approval granted in July, and construction beginning in August 2020.