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  Twin Rivers Primary & Intermediate SchoolsTwin Rivers Primary & Intermediate Schools


J.C. Pierce, LLC
360 Lincoln Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15202

General Description

Location: McKeesport, Pennsylvania
LEED® Pending
Date Bid: June 2011 Construction Period: Oct 2011 to Dec 2013
Total Square Feet: 128,113
Site: 11.152 acres.
Number of Buildings: One; Auditorium, gymnasium, 59 classrooms, 25 seating capacities each.
Building Sizes: Basement, 898; first floor, 90,483; second floor, 36,732; total, 128,113 square feet.
Building Height: Basement, 10’; first floor, 14’; second floor, 32’; total, 46’.
Basic Construction Type: New/II A.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, pier & grade beam, reinforced concrete, slab-on-grade.
Exterior Walls: Brick, curtain wall. Roof: Built-up. Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls: Metal stud drywall.

Project Team

Structural, Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Loftus Engineers - 300 Bilmar Drive, #250, Pittsburgh, PA 15205
Civil Engineer: Phillips & Associates, Inc. - 1122 Mosside Boulevard, Wall, PA 15148
General Contractor: Gurtner Construction Company, Inc. - 812 Chartiers Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15220
Geotechnical Engineer: Garvin Boward Beitko Engineering, Inc. - 180 Bilmar Drive, #IV, Pittsburgh, PA 15205

In 2008 the McKeesport Area School District hired JC Pierce LLC to perform a district wide master planning study to evaluate their existing school buildings and to determine the future needs of the district. The resulting master plan included the design and development of the new Twin Rivers Primary and Intermediate Schools. The new 128,000 square foot building was constructed on the site of the former Cornell Elementary School, located in an urban neighborhood of McKeesport, Pennsylvania.

The building is designed as "two schools within a school", with separate main entrances for both the Primary School and Intermediate School. The two "Schools" have individual classroom wings at the north and south ends, but share common facilities located at the central core of the building. The new school accommodates up to 850 students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade and serves as the Mathematics and Science Academy for the District.

Vehicular access to the site occurs from Cornell Street, and includes a paved access road encircling the entire building. Student bus drop-off occurs along the east/front side, while vehicular student drop-off takes place along the north and south sides of the building. The site also includes outdoor play areas, plazas, courtyards, and a teaching garden.

The first floor includes entrances to the Primary School and Intermediate School through separate main entrances accessed from plazas along the east side of the building. The central core of the building is designed to house the shared functions, common to both schools. The shared areas include a Commons Area, Administration Suites, Library/Media Center, Kitchen, Cafeteria, and Gymnasium. The first floor classroom wings are accessed from the main axis north-south corridor. The Primary School classrooms are housed in the two-story north wing, and the Intermediate School classrooms are housed in the two-story south wing.

The second floor Primary School classroom north-wing is accessed from the lower level by a central elevator and two stair towers located at opposite ends of the east-west axis corridor. The second floor Intermediate School classroom south-wing is accessed from the lower level by a central elevator and two stair towers located at opposite ends of the east-west corridor. The corridors along both classroom wings are crowned by continuous clerestory aluminum and glass windows, creating a bright environment with an abundance of natural day-lighting. Openings in the floor structure along the second floor east-west corridors, allow for natural light to reach the first floor corridors.

The exterior building materials include brick, aluminum composite panels, architectural metal siding, high performance glass and aluminum storefront, and curtain-wall glazing systems. The ceiling heights and resulting roof heights of the first and second floor spaces vary by function, by acoustical design considerations, and for the incorporation of clerestory day-lighting.

The project is designed as an environmentally sensitive, high-performance building incorporating innovative learning technologies, and is tracking LEED Gold Certification. LEED features include a robust thermal envelope, high-performance mechanical systems including a ground source geothermal well field, energy conserving automated electrical systems, extensive day-lighting along with exterior views, a rain water collection/ gray water reuse system, the use of high recycled content along with rapidly renewable materials, and a wind-turbine demonstrative energy system.

The new school is the creation of a forward thinking client with a vision that appreciates and demands design excellence, a talented design team of architects and engineers that were able to translate that vision into reality, and a team of contractors that executed their work with the highest quality and a tremendous amount of pride that all came together to exceed the client's expectations through the realization of a unique building design.

On a larger, urban design scale, the new Twin Rivers Primary and Intermediate Schools now occupy the grounds of the former Cornell School and eleven, mostly derelict, residential properties. The completion of this project is looked upon by the City of McKeesport as an epicenter for the redevelopment of this neighborhood. Like the ripples in a pond, the impact of the new school has already had a far reaching positive effect on the surrounding community.

Product Information
Building Envelope: Syntheon ACCEL-E, Glen Gery Corp., Alucobond Aluminum Composite Panel
Roofing: Garland Company, Imetco
Windows, Curtain Wall, Entrances & Storefront: EFCO Corporation, A Pella Company
Daylighting: CPI Daylighting, Inc.
Interior: USG, Armstrong, Fry Reglet, Smith & Fong, Sherwin Williams
Flooring: Johnsonite, American Olean
Lighting: Focal Point, Finelite, Tech Lighting, Kirlin, Lighting Science, Lithonia, Gotham, Prudential Lighting, U.S. Architectural, Lighting Alternatives
Elevator: Schindler


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