ESM proposes $29.4 million renovation to Pine Grove Middle School

An artist’s rendering of ESM’s proposed new building front for Pine Grove Middle School.

An artist’s rendering of ESM’s proposed new building front for Pine Grove Middle School. Provided

— This feedback, combined with additional research, revealed that the district needed a cost-effective solution for Pine Grove Middle School to meet the needs of current and future generations of students.

In recent years, the community has approved projects to upgrade the elementary schools and high school so district facilities are in line with the school’s mission statement. Pine Grove Middle School, however, has remained virtually unchanged for 43 years.

Teaching models have evolved since the time Pine Grove was first built, school officials said. ESM’s 21st century educational delivery model emphasizes communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking in a problem-based environment. While middle school administrators and teachers have done their best to conform to this model within the current Pine Grove facility, Sajnog said it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so.

She said students and staff are working in a crowded environment. The building’s horseshoe shape, as well as the narrow staircases, makes it difficult for students to get from class to class.

A Greener, Greater Grove supports the newer educational model by providing space that is flexible for students and staff. This means that the entire student body will be able to gather together comfortably for presentations, assemblies and performances. Students will also have flexible space to collaborate in small groups or learn together in a larger class setting. The new design will be more conducive to interdisciplinary learning, Sajnog said.

“Flexibility of space is really key,” she said. “We need some open spaces, but we need some closed spaces where it’s quiet, and students can concentrate.”

The renovations call for the replacement of major infrastructure systems at the middle school, including electrical, plumbing and mechanical. All windows and doors would be replaced, and some roofing work would also be done. “Green” materials would be used to make the school more energy-efficient and to maximize savings, DeSiato said.

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