The groundbreaking for additions and renovations to Abington Senior High School, including the Stephen A. Schwarzman Center for Science and Technology, will be held at 1:45 PM on Friday, November 2, 2018.
The collective cost for these projects are estimated by the Abington School District to be in excess of $104 million.
“The event will take place on the site of the future wing – along the Ghost Road entrance – for which alumnus Mr. Stephen Schwarzman generously donated $25 million in an effort to help inspire a new generation of future-ready learners,” stated Ms. Allie Artur, Communications Coordinator for the Abington School District.
Mr. Schwarzman is the Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of The Blackstone Group, a financial investment firm.
It has been reported previously that this donation by Mr. Schwarzman was the largest private donation to a public high school in the United States. The initial arrangements for this donation were altered following the public release of those arrangements.
“With an anticipated opening in the fall of 2020, the new science and technology center includes science, art, and general classroom space,” continued Ms. Artur. “Other additions throughout the school building involve the construction of an auxiliary gymnasium, career center, and a new cafeteria. Ninety-three percent of the existing facility will also be renovated, with an estimated completion date of 2022.”
The Abington School Board has been a strong supporter of these planned additions and renovations.
“After years of planning and design, the Board of School Directors and I are very much looking forward to breaking ground on what will be the biggest project the District has embarked on in the 21st century,” Board President stated Mr. Raymond McGarry, Board President. “With Abington School District seeing an enrollment growth of more than 10 percent in the past decade – by approximately more than 100 students each year – it became evident that we needed to find a practical and economical solution for our community. We are pleased to be able to bring this project to fruition, which will benefit every student for generations to come.”
According to the Abington School District, the project will be the first major addition and renovation to the original Abington Senior High School building, built in 1956, in nearly two decades.
“Currently, Abington Senior High houses grades 10-12, but the expansion is designed to allow for the accommodation of grade 9, which presently is housed at Abington Junior High School, located on the same campus,” according to Ms. Artur. “As a result, 6th-graders will be moved from their respective seven elementary schools to the Junior High building, which upon completion of the project, will be home to grades 6-8 in a middle school configuration.”
“These planned reconfigured grade spans have helped pave the way for a re-imagined curriculum, for which a Superintendent’s Committee has been formed in order to help shape new, innovative programming focused on the skills needed to compete in the evolving workforce and prepare students for the nation’s fastest-growing industries and jobs of the future,” explained Ms. Artur. “The Committee is comprised of administrators, teachers, students and community members to inform best practices for implementing these changes.”
These changes are designed to help the students in future years.
“The new curriculum will provide high school students more flexibility to choose classes across a range of subjects and specialties, providing greater exposure to a variety of industries and career fields,” stated Ms. Artur. “Complementing these changes, Abington Senior High School will also expand school counseling services so that children have the opportunity to explore their career interests earlier in life, with the goal of looking beyond just degree attainment.”
The groundbreaking will have special significance for the current Superintendent of Schools for the Abington School District, Dr. Amy Sichel.
“With my impending retirement the following Friday, I am proud to have the November 2nd groundbreaking be my last official act as Superintendent,” stated Dr. Sichel. “During my 18 years in this role, I have overseen the opening of entirely new school buildings and facilities as well as the complete reconstruction of several of our elementary schools. As we look to the future of Abington Senior High School and the 8,300 Abington and Rockledge students we educate every school year, it brings me great joy to help propel our District into its next chapter.”
The photograph of the rendering is courtesy of the Abington School District.