‘Careers in Construction’ event to be held Sept. 14 at HS

Penn Manor and Warfel Construction are hosting a “Careers in Construction Exploration Event” for parents and students Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Penn Manor High School construction site.

Participants will tour the site and learn about construction careers, including carpenters, electricians, HVAC technicians, plumbers, project managers, virtual design coordinators, drone pilots and construction superintendents.

The event is open to any student in grades 7 to 12, who must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The deadline to register is Sept. 9. To register, click here

HS project provides unique learning opportunities for students

For Penn Manor High School students and staff, the massive construction project that began this past year brought parking restrictions, relocated classrooms and the constant din of heavy equipment just outside classrooms and offices.

But it also provided opportunities for students to learn about real-world math, engineering and design applications, study the life cycle of trees and explore career options in the construction field.

Partnership for learning

A partnership between Warfel Construction, the project manager, and the district resulted in several learning opportunities.

Math students learned how construction workers and surveyors use trigonometry and algebra in the field. Agricultural Mechanics students learned about the inner workings of a temporary ag shop as it was being built, and Plant Science students got to examine the rings of a tree cut down as part of the project.

Warfel Construction also established an internship that enabled one student to attend weekly construction meetings and visit on-site work, and groups of students got to tour the construction site and learn about the excavating, plumbing, drywall, technology and other trades represented by the workers they observed.

“When there’s a construction site in your back yard, you take advantage of the valuable career exploration for your students,” said Michelle Wagner, support and transition teacher at the school. “This fits into our goal of transition and preparing students for life after high school.”

Experts in the classroom

Staff from Warfel and Boro Electric, the electrical contractor on the project, visited three of math teacher Gary Luft’s classes in April and May to talk about their roles in the project.

“The students were given an overview and the phasing of the total construction project, as well as an explanation of what was currently being done on site,” Luft said. “I think it was very beneficial for the students to hear from the experts in the field.”

Meagan Slates’ Plant Science class got to examine the remains of a giant tree cut down during construction as part of a “Tree of Life” lab.

Students counted the tree stump’s growth rings to estimate the age of the tree — more than 50 years — and then compared it to the tree they were studying in the lab.

“What is cool about this lab is that we had climate data from the Pacific Northwest that dated back to 1960 from the original lab we were working on, so we were able to use that data and the tree that was removed to estimate the growing season here in Pennsylvania,” Slates said.

“This was a great experience, and I’m so thankful that Warfel and the Penn Manor administration were so open to sharing these experiences with our students.”

‘Demystifying’ the industry

The interactions were designed to help “demystify” the construction field, said Warfel project engineer Kevin McGuire.

“We want to involve the students and then turn that into a discussion about what they plan to do in the future. What’s going on outside the window, and how could that involve you?” he said. “We need more conversations like that in the education field.”

Penn Manor is partnering with Warfel to host a “Careers in Construction Exploration Event” that includes a tour of the project and information about construction careers on Sept. 14. Learn more here.

McGuire said he hopes to continue the collaboration as the construction project progresses over the next two years.

Many thanks to Warfel and the Penn Manor teachers who helped make these unique opportunities possible for our students!

Detailed renderings of HS now available

Want to see what Penn Manor High School will look like when construction is completed? Check out these detailed renderings and the “fly-over” video that shows what different sections of the school will look like. Click here .

Parking/access changes implemented at HS for summer

July 10, 2019:

Changes in parking and access are being implemented at Penn Manor High School this week as part of the renovation/construction project. A map showing the new restrictions is available here.

Staff and visitors should enter the school via East Cottage Avenue and drive around the building to access the parking garage. The high school entrance is now at the East Gym, across from the parking garage.

There is no access to the parking garage from Model Avenue. Students and visitors participating in events at the West Gym and track may park along Model Avenue, but all others should enter the campus via East Cottage Avenue.

We thank you for your cooperation in following the new parking arrangement. Please check back for updates as the start of the 2019-2020 school year approaches.

Classrooms relocated to make way for HS demolition

Students and teachers began using temporary classrooms the week of April 22 as the Penn Manor High School renovation and construction project entered a new phase.

Foreign language, art and agricultural education classes have moved into two temporary structures erected behind the math wing of the high school.

The spaces include 14 modular classrooms for art and foreign language classes and an adjacent, barn-like structure with three classrooms and shops for ag classes.

As part of the transition, English classes were relocated to the former foreign language classrooms at the high school.

The relocations will enable demolition of the art, English and ag wing of the school to begin the week of April 29.

Once that structure has been razed and excavated, workers will complete compaction grouting to stabilize the earth prior to construction of the school’s new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) wing.

The STEM wing, which also will house ag classes and shops, is scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

Compaction grouting currently is under way beneath the former parking area behind the school’s administrative offices.

In addition to the STEM wing, the next phase of the project will include construction of a performing arts wing, including band, chorus and orchestra classrooms and performance spaces and an auditorium.

That section also is expected to be completed for the 2020-2021 school year.

Many thanks to Penn Manor teachers, students and staff for their patience and assistance during the transition to these new spaces.

A temporary art classroom
A German classroom
A French/Spanish classroom
An agricultural education classroom
Compaction grouting under way at the former administration parking lot

Map outlines major parking, access changes beginning Monday, March 18

March 15, 2019:

Major changes in parking and access are being implemented at Penn Manor High School, beginning Monday, March 18, as part of the renovation/construction project. A map showing the new restrictions is available here.

Please take note of these changes:

  • No student parking will be permitted on site. Students will park at Comet Field, and shuttle buses will take them to and from the high school. Shuttles will begin at 7:15 a.m. and run throughout the day.
  • The main driveway from East Cottage Avenue will be closed at the pedestrian bridge, and the administrative and ag parking lots will be closed off.
  • Visitors will park in the lot at the entrance to the cafeteria, across from the bus parking area, between 7:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Visitors before 7:45 a.m. and after 2:15 p.m. will park in the lot near the former tennis courts.
  • All visitors will enter the school at the band entrance, across from the bus parking lot.
  • Staff will enter the campus via Model Avenue and park in the parking garage. Visitors cannot use this access route during school hours.
  • All buses and parents dropping off students will enter from East Cottage Avenue.  Buses will use the current bus parking lot, and parents will drop off students at the Technology Education wing and circle around the building to exit via the main driveway.
  • Special needs students will enter the school via a ramp at the auditorium entrance.
  • Transportation for student athletes also will be affected. Find detailed information here.

Signs will be erected to direct traffic on the high school site. Please bear with us as we transition to full construction. Your patience and cooperation are greatly appreciated!

Neighbors learn more details about high school project

About 35 residents turned out Tuesday night to learn more about the Penn Manor High School project during a presentation geared toward those who live directly next to the school.

School district officials explained how the project will go through stages over three years and explained what neighbors should expect to see as work progresses.

A temporary classroom/gym is currently under construction behind the high school, and major construction will begin over spring break.

Residents had questions about parking, traffic flow, security, noise and contractor work schedules for the project, which will cost $99.9 million and take three years for completion.

New classroom, agricultural education and athletic wings will be built, along with a new auditorium and upgrades to the school’s HVAC, plumbing, electrical, fire suppression, technology and security systems. The project also will include a new district office at the high school, which will open up space for classrooms at Manor Middle School, where the office is currently located.

Residents got to see new renderings of what the high school will look like, along with a timeline for the various phases of construction. You can see the visual presentation here.