New Tech school design in national competition

By Lynn R. Parks

The Delaware New Tech addition on Seaford High School claimed the top award for school design at the recent annual meeting of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International, northeast region. Architectural firm Studio Jaed, which designed the addition, has entered the project in the councils national competition.

The addition won the Edward Kirkbride Award, which is given to the school that best represents the councils principles of educational planning and design. Buildings that are competing for the award are judged on appearance as well as on how well they function as a school and on the planning process that led to the construction.

Delaware New Tech is a creative and inspired deliverer of education spaces, judges said. They also praised the district for involving teachers, students and members of the community in its design process and for careful documentation of planning and construction.

The school was one of 24 projects in the competition for the award. We are very happy for the Seaford School District, said James Hutchison III, Studio Jaed president and chief executive officer. [Chief of buildings and grounds] Roy Whitaker and his team put an awful lot of time into this project and its gratifying to see them get recognized for everything that they put into it.

Hutchinson said that Studio Jaed has won awards of distinction before for schools that it has designed. But this is the first Kirkbride Award that it has won.

Whitaker, who traveled to Baltimore on April 10 for the award presentation, said that the award, a heavy crystal statue, will be displayed in the district board room. A formal presentation will be made at the May 12 board meeting.

Groundbreaking for the New Tech wing took place in November 2012. The project was made possible by voter approval of a $36.5 million renovation package in May 2011. The state agreed to pay 75 percent of the cost of the project, or $27 million, leaving about $9.1 million to be paid by local taxpayers.

Plans also include construction of two more additions: an 8,900-square foot wing to house the culinary arts program and a 3,000-square foot wing for the agricultural program. Construction of those two wings is underway.

Final cost of the construction project was about $5 million less than was budgeted.

With the extra money, the district has been able to renovate much of the original high school building, including the Madden Auditorium, and redo the high school football field and the walking track around the field.

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