Reading Citadel
Intermediate High School

Reading, PA


  • 311,363 SF Total
    • 189,176 SF Renovation
    • 122,187 SF New Construction
    • 289,000 SF Demolition
  • 3,000 pupils / grades 9-10
  • 1885 / 1893 / 1926 / 1950-1990s / 2011
  • Adaptive Reuse Conversion of the former St. Joseph’s Hospital
  • Citation Award from AIA-Central PA in 2012
  • $ 78,848,000

Existing hospital areas were converted to classroom use, whereas more than 111,000 SF of new construction now accommodates large group instruction areas, cafeteria, food service kitchens, pupil locker rooms, gymnasium, band/choral rooms, black box theatre and internet café. Dating from the 1872 and 1892, original walls (including a four story high stone chapel, a bell tower and 30" thick stone walls) were incorporated as exterior elements in the new additions. The building has been programmed to create a small supportive learning environment. Construction of an additional story above an existing building created four standalone grade 9-10 schools. Each of these 600-student schools-within-a-school are arranged to be self-contained, supporting the four 150 pupil "teaching teams" (each including science and special education). Looping of instructors will permit two years of contact with professional teaching staff.

South Western High School

York, PA


  • 267,000 SF
    • 141,478 Renovation
    • 125,522 New Construction
  • 1,600 pupils / grades 9-12
  • 1994
  • Additions & Alterations
  • $ 17,000,000
  • [Completed by Vern McKissick, while partner at HLA]

At nearly 270,000 gross square feet, the South Western Senior High School facility is the centerpiece of a 100-acre rural campus. Central to this project’s design solution was the accommodation of more than 600 additional students while upgrading and softening the public facade. The cornerstone of the project is a new 2,000 seat, three-gymnasium field house. The former gymnasium has been converted to a new media center. The expanded auditorium was completely refurbished and equipped for extensive theatrical presentations. Both the new auditorium and gymnasium occupy anchor positions along the front of the nearly 600-foot-long main facade. Other public functions were pulled to the front of the complex and connected to the anchors via a new 160-foot radius arcade. Classrooms and technical support areas are located within three wings that branch off the public spaces and extend to the rear of the facility.

Wellsboro Area High School

Wellsboro, PA


  • 126,000 SF
  • 804 total pupils (including 265 Vocational) / grades 9-12
  • Reinterpretation of Classic Architectural Elements
  • 2007 / New Construction
    Built on existing High School Site,
    Conversion of former High School into a Community Arts Center
  • Best use of Materials & Resources from GBACPA in 2007
  • $ 20,200,000

The new high school building has a total area of 126,000 square feet on three levels. Built to a LEED™ Silver standard the building utilizes energy efficient ground source heat pumps for heating and cooling and incorporates “sustainable green design principals”. The multistory configuration minimizes travel distances and provides for energy efficiency. High-sloped roofing systems visually break up the overall building mass into more small-scale elements, an architectural solution that is appropriate to and reinforces the character and local vernacular of the borough. The district significantly expanded their curriculum to include comprehensive vocational education and technology preparation programs that are integrated into this new facility.

Williamsport Area High School

Williamsport, PA


  • 513,103 SF
    • 513,103 SF Renovation
  • 1,600 pupils (capacity of 2,683 total pupils) / grades 9-12
  • 1971 / 1998 / 2014
  • Additions & Alterations
  • $ 31,900,000 (2014)

Although an impressive state of the art educational facility when it opened in 1971, the only significant addition to the facility was a new vocational wing completed in 1998. Built for a student capacity of nearly 3,000 pupils the student population has continued a steady decline. Educational & curriculum upgrades are being undertaken to address the building’s classroom usage, which is not currently being maximized. The District’s recent budgetary struggles have prevented the undertaking of upgrades, which have accumulated. The 2014 project includes a mixture of educational, deferred maintenance, and energy savings upgrades.

Jim Thorpe High School

Jim Thorpe, PA


  • 187,700 SF
    • 76,600 SF Renovation
    • 111,100 SF New Construction
  • 1,400 pupils / grades 9-12
  • 1932 / 2001
  • Additions & Alterations
  • $ 20,284,363
  • [Completed by Vern McKissick, while partner at HLA]

This 1932 vintage WPA school is located on a constrained hillside site and over $3.6 million in site development activities were required. The conversion of the existing gymnasium to an auditorium, conversion of the cafeteria to a library, construction of a new triple gymnasium, a cafeteria/commons area, an administration suite as well as the new science and technology pavilion were included in the renovations. A new 2-story science and technology pavilion was constructed with 10,000 SF of technology education lab space.

East Forsyth High School

Winston-Salem, NC


  • 2, 000 pupils / Grades 9-12
  • 2009 through 2011
  • Site Upgrades

The subsequent projects that arose from the 2009 Master Plan developed by McKissick Associates included new, reoriented walkways, ornamental plantings, new fencing and numerous other practical and aesthetic improvements. Over the next two years other projects completed at the high school site included sports field upgrades, new parking areas, a concession stand and restrooms.

Mount Union Senior (& Junior) High School

Mount Union, PA


  • 165,238 SF
    • 138,138 SF Renovation
    • 27,100 SF New Construction
  • 1,135 pupils / grades (7-8) & 9-12
  • 1954 / 1962 / 2011
  • Additions & Alterations
  • $ 24,100,000

The 1954 Junior/Senior High School had last been expanded in 1962 and much of the building was original to its date of construction. A strong desire existed to better separate junior and senior high age pupils, as well as improve educational offerings, and a number of internal space conversions occurred with the 2011 renovation project. This included creation of new easily identifiable exterior entrances for each wing, reversing the original building’s floorplan. The interior renovations embraced the mid-century design of the original school and played up the “Googie” style updated materials and color palette.

Penn Cambria High School

Cresson, PA


  • grades 9-12
  • 1994
  • Additions & Alterations
  • USDA Urban Forestry grant for $100,000 AWARDED
  • $ 9,700,000
  • [Completed by Vern McKissick, while partner at HLA]

Five separate additions and extensive renovations to existing spaces provided a new library, five additional general classrooms, two special education classrooms, two science classrooms, one home economics laboratory, one auxiliary gymnasium and expanded boys and girls locker rooms, kitchen, cafeteria and support spaces. At the same time many areas were converted to more appropriate uses and instructional spaces were relocated. Particularly successful was the conversion of former shop areas into 8 new science labs/classrooms. By obtaining a $100,000 urban forestry grant from the USDA, on-site outdoor learning areas, a greenhouse and stream/stormwater quality upgrades were also completed.

Bedford High School

Bedford, PA


  • 154,000 SF Renovation
  • 950 pupils / grades 9-12
  • 1932 / 1997
  • Colonial, Georgian Revival
  • Historic Preservation, Renovation & Addition
  • $10,800,000
  • [Completed by Vern McKissick, while partner at HLA]

Forming a partnership between the school district, vo-tech schools, employers, community groups and local colleges and universities allowed the school to create a School-to-Work high school philosophy. Months of interaction with school faculty and members of the school’s administration resulted in the complete reorganiztion of the wings to house four career paths. Powerful new teaching tools required similarly intelligent rethinking of Bedford’s facilities, and this project successfully transformed an historic 1932 School into a modern facility capable of supporting the District’s vision. .