East Syracuse On June 5, the East Syracuse Minoa School District held a groundbreaking ceremony for its “Greener, Greater Grove” project, a $29.4 million plan to renovate and make critical upgrades to Pine Grove Middle School.
Renovations will include the replacement of core infrastructure within the building such as plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems, as well as the addition of a 12,000 square foot performing arts and center and community café.
“Our vision at ESM is to become an exemplary 21st century learning community whose graduates are prepared to excel in a complex, interconnected changing world,” said ESM Superintendent Dr. Donna DeSiato. “We will watch the transformation of this building into a 21st century learning environment – it was clearly designed to be a 20th century learning environment in 1969, and it must be changed.”
It’s been 45 years since Pine Grove last saw significant construction work. That was 1969, when the school was first built. DeSiato said the renovations will not only align better with the district’s vision of a contemporary “21st century learning” model – they will also solve some of the foot traffic problems within the building.
“The original footprint of the building is a U-shape, and we have found that because of that shape, it is difficult to get from one side of the building to the other without going through the entire perimeter,” she said. “The 12,000 square foot addition will be constructed in the middle and will allow us to have better traffic patterns because the building will be interconnected; it’ll be more of a rectangle than a U-shape.”
Additionally, all renovations will follow “green” standards to make the school more energy-efficient and to maximize savings. Several “learning zones” will be created within each grade level. These learning zones will be designed to foster a more intimate learning community for collaboration in small groups as well as learning in larger groups.