Radnor Middle School unveils new building

By Christopher Blake
September 27, 2007

christopher blake/staff writer

“I have to laugh to myself sometimes that we have this beautiful building. We have a great student body, a hard working faculty and now an amazing new facility,” Radnor Middle School first-year Principal Anthony Stevenson said. “It’s the kids that make it all worthwhile.”

Radnor Middle School’s brand new four-story building towers over the 850 students as they walk into their new school each day. Yet intimidated they are not.

Not only do three of the four floors in the schools academic wing accommodate one grade apiece, making students feel more comfortable, but the building has reached the highest level of certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for the school’s environmentally beneficial features.

The school features a “green” roof with plants that produce oxygen, decrease storm water runoff and keep the buildings temperature down.

As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer by Dan Hardy, “The roof is the first on a public school in the region and is part of the district’s promise to create environmentally friendly buildings.”

In addition, the building has recycled materials in the floor, carpets, ceiling tiles, counters and tack boards. Heat and motion sensors turn off class lights in empty rooms and light sensors shut off lights when there’s enough natural light.

Classroom carbon dioxide monitors even trigger the piping bringing more fresh air if the level is too high.

“The end goal is not only to be environmentally conscious, but to provide the best, most healthy learning environment for kids,” Leo Bernabei, the district’s operations director, said.

Administrators and students are thrilled about the environmentally sound qualities and even happier to move into their new high tech building.

The grades are divided into areas called “pods” two on each floor, each with five classrooms. Students attend class in their pod and there is enough space for the whole team of up to 110 students to meet in a common area.

The former building had been operating since 1923 and although the old middle school will be missed by many in Wayne, the new change has been welcomed with open arms.

“Our kids and staff have embraced the building very positively. Their positive attitudes have allowed us to adjust to the movement of kids from wing to wing, help with students opening their lockers and provided the school with a smooth transition,” Stevenson said.

The cost of the building reached $48 million.

“This shows a good example of using taxpayers’ money right by transferring it to green technology, which not only benefits the community but provides a good example for the kids, Ralph Spagnolo, adjunct professor of biology at Cabrini, said.

“In the long run the green technology will benefit society, thus the cost of construction isn’t as important as keeping our environment stable.”

Mike MacDonald, a sophomore graphic design major, said, “Cabrini could benefit from a green building. The students would become more environmentally conscious and in these days and times this is vital.”

As Principal Stevenson walked up and down the halls of his gorgeous new school his confident stride, smiling face and overall demeanor showed his sense of enthusiasm and school pride.

“It’s very humbling that we had all the money and resources to construct this building for our students. We are so fortunate. We can only hope to be a model for the region and state to invest in similar buildings,” Stevenson said.

Christopher Blake

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