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West Allegheny Middle School Renovation Project FAQ

Updated:  9-13-23

Q:  What is the anticipated timeline for construction? 

A:  Construction began in June of 2023 and is anticipated to end in December of 2024.

Q:  What are the phases of the middle school renovation project? 

A: Phase 1:  The new Art, Music and FCS classrooms on the first floor and the second floor new Think Tank space are anticipated to be completed by February 2024 with the large LGI addition being completed by early March 2024.
Phase 2:  Six new sixth grade classrooms on the first floor are completed with the exception of final flooring expected after Labor Day.  Chorus and Music classrooms will be completed by early October 2023, along with the Pre-engineering and Computer Innovation and Design classrooms.   

Phase 3:  Five additional sixth grade classrooms on the first floor and the new media center on the second floor are anticipated to be completed in early November 2023. 

Phase 4:  Second floor classrooms on the far left side of the school will begin construction in November 2023 and are anticipated to be completed in March 2024. 

Phase 5:  Second floor classrooms in the center of the school will begin construction in March 2024 and conclude in June 2024. 

Phase 6:  First floor administrative offices, nurse’s suite, counselor suite, cafeteria and kitchen, fitness area, gymnasium and locker rooms and four second floor classrooms above the main offices will begin renovation in June 2024 and conclude at the end of August 2024.   

Phase 7:  Final phase of the project will begin in August of 2024 and conclude by January 2025 and include the second floor classrooms on the right side of the school.   

Q:  Will students need to relocate to another building during construction? 

A:  The District recognizes the importance of limiting the impact to the academic day and has worked with the construction project team to plan a strategic construction schedule that will not require relocation of grades and classrooms outside of the Middle School building. The only exception to relocation at this time is chorus, based on teacher preference, which will temporarily attend class in the high school chorus room.  The Middle School chorus room is anticipated to be completed after Labor Day, when students will occupy the new space. Students will be escorted to the high school by a staff member.   

Within the Middle School, there will be structured relocation of classroom cohorts that will strategically limit the impact on the academic day. Core content areas will be prioritized, and students will remain with the same teacher throughout the relocation process. 

Q:  Is there air conditioning in the school?  Will construction impact air conditioning and heating in the school?  

A:  There is functioning air conditioning in the school.  The existing HVAC system will remain in place through the early phases of the construction project.  As the project progresses, new equipment will be brought on line.  The main system components for heating (boilers) and cooling(chillers) are scheduled for phase 6 during the summer of 2024.   In the event that the existing air conditioning fails, the District has a contingency plan to establish temporary chiller units until the permanent/new unit is in place.   

Q:   What process is in place to ensure safe asbestos abatement? Was asbestos abated?   

A:   As with most older building renovation projects, some level of asbestos abatement is to be expected.  In Allegheny County, abatement is strictly regulated, and abatement contractors are required to be licensed through ACHD.  Asbestos abatement may only occur under a permit issued by the ACHD. Contractors must follow the ACHD rules and regulations for all abatement projects to ensure public safety.  Upon completion, asbestos abatement project clearance air sampling and analysis must be conducted by an independent consulting company or laboratory. The results of this testing must be submitted to the health department for review and approval prior to final inspection. Only upon approval by the ACHD during the final on site visual inspection is authorization given for removal of the work area containment and disposal of materials at an authorized disposal facility.   

Asbestos was abated from a few areas in the school.  The asbestos that was found to date was non-friable.  If additional asbestos is found, further testing will be conducted to determine the type and removal procedures.  If removal is necessary, it will be done when students are not in the school, over a long weekend or other break, with the above air quality sampling in place throughout the abatement process and after the removal.  

Q:  What measures are in place to ensure the safety of the air quality during construction? 

A:  Air quality sampling will be conducted throughout the renovation project to ensure healthy air quality.  PSI Intertek, a Pittsburgh based testing and consulting agency, will be available for IAQ testing throughout the project.

Q:   What will be done to maintain a clean learning environment for students and staff? 

A:   Both the construction team and the District custodial staff will continue to focus on daily cleaning of the occupied areas of the school. Emphasis will be placed upon floor cleanliness and dusting.  As with any major construction project, additional dust is to be expected, as such, our custodial crews will continue to be vigilant to remove any excess dust, and as necessary, the District may use additional resources to ensure the cleanliness of the school.  

Q:   What forms of communication will be available within the school? 

A:   Daily announcements are made in the morning and in the afternoon at WAMS through Microsoft TEAMS and will be viewed in each classroom on Aquos Boards. Canvas will still be used to relay important messages to students and staff. For modes of internal communication, staff members have a combination of hard-wired phones, cell phones, and walkie talkies as well as their laptops.

Q:  Will there be a library in the renovated school? 

A:  Yes, a library will be part of the new and expanded Media Center, which will be located on the second floor. Access to book check-out will remain available during construction. 

Q:  What considerations were made for the addition of green/sustainable features in the school? 

A:  New, state-of-the-art HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems will greatly enhance the school’s sustainability efforts. ?Specifically, the addition of expansive windows, skylights and light shafts will complement the school’s new LED lighting systems, which will automatically adjust to levels of natural lighting. Environmentally conscience reduced flow plumbing fixtures will conserve water throughout the renovated building and a direct digital control HVAC system will allow for the highly efficient maintenance of building temperatures.
Q:  Will construction workers have clearances? 

A:   As with all of our construction projects, contractors/workers are required to have the necessary clearances to work in a school setting. Individual ID badges will be required of construction workers to be worn and visible.

Q:  Will construction workers interact with students? 

A:  Every effort will be made to restrict interaction. Construction walls and stair/entry restrictions will be in place to limit interaction and enhance safety throughout the renovation. Construction workers will begin their workday in advance of the school day to limit interaction during drop-off. Also, each phase of construction will be separated from the occupied portion of the school by the temporary construction of dividing walls. Due to the temporary walls, construction crews will not occupy student spaces and students will have no access into the construction area. Large demolition construction activities during the project will be handled during non-school hours.  In the event a construction worker needs access to the student occupied portion of the school, notification to the main office is required.  

Q:  What preventative measures will be in place to reduce construction sounds during the school day? 

A:  Construction phasing will prioritize major demolition to be limited to summer and after school hours, and construction walls will be in place around active construction zones to limit construction noise and academic disruption.

Q:  What safety measures will be added to the middle school? 

A:  Student and staff safety remains a top priority for the District. Given this, School Resource Officers were involved throughout the renovation project planning sessions and will be actively involved throughout construction. State-of-the-art camera and security systems will be installed, and placement of windows and the entrance vestibule were strategically taken into consideration. As a school safety practice, detailed security features including floor plans will not be available to the public. 

Q:  Will emergency responders be made aware of the classroom relocation plans within the school? 

A:  Regular updates will be provided to School Resource Officers and the North Fayette Police Department. Emergency exit plans have been developed and will remain in place for all areas of the school. 

Q:  Are there any plans to add a second driveway entrance to the middle and high school campus? 

A:  A second entrance to the middle and high school campus is planned as part of the Township approved project.  Construction of the secondary access road will begin after the full completion of the middle school project.  

Q:  Will lockers be available to students? 

A:  Should a student have a need for a locker, please reach out to Mrs. Nolan or Dr. Underwood as lockers are limited and available based on construction phasing. The current backpack procedures will be in place for the 2023-2024 school year.

Q:  Will students still be able to walk to the middle school from the student parking area? 

A:  Yes. Temporary fencing has been erected around active construction zones to protect sidewalk areas and current morning and afternoon procedures will remain. 

Q:  Was there any consideration for adding awnings or a snow melt system to the sidewalks? 

A:  An expansive awning will be added to the main entrance protecting students and staff from inclement weather. A snow melt system was not considered due to prohibitive costs. 

Q:  What year was the school built? 

A: 1974