READING EAGLE 11/29/2011 Firm earns award for Citadel school design A Reading School District construction project has been honored for its design. McKissick Associates, a Harrisburg-based architecture firm that designed the Citadel intermediate high school, was recently awarded a citation for design excellence from the American Institute of Architects' Central Pennsylvania Chapter. According to Tammie B. Fitzpatrick, a member of the AIA Central Pennsylvania board of directors, McKissick was one of five firms to be recognized this year. The citation was given because of the project's high level of design conceptualization and implementation, she said. "We're very tickled," said Vern L. McKissick, owner of McKissick Associates. "It was tough competition." The AIA Continental European Chapter judged this year's awards, Fitzpatrick said. She explained their critique of the Citadel project said it shows how good design can affect human behavior in a positive way, citing increased attendance rates at the new school. The judges also applauded the insertion of a high school into an urban area as a major benefit to the neighborhood. "This project deserves a citation award also due to the clever methods and extensive research to convert a hospital into a school," the judges wrote. "This school projects also proves that with good design, you can attempt to create social change and in this case they have been successful." Reading School Board member Keith R. Stamm said the new school has definitely helped ease problems caused by overcrowding at Reading High. He said the award shows that the district made a smart choice when picking an architect for the project. "I thought that the award was nice," he said. "It proved that McKissick was a good choice." The more than $80 million Citadel project turned the former St. Joseph Medical Center at 12th and Walnut streets into an expansive school for ninth- and 10th-grade students. It included renovations to the historic hospital as well as new construction. The project was fraught with difficulties from the onset, including cost overages and delays. The school finally opened for the start of the 2010-11 school year, more than a year late. McKissick said he hopes the recognition the project is receiving helps to mend any lingering bad feeling between the district and his firm. "It's really pleasing and I'm hoping it helps some folks with a little healing," he said of the citation. "I hope it helps show that they got something special there." Contact David Mekeel: 610-371-5014 or (Image by: Reading Eagle: Ben Hasty)

No comments: