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Daniel Engen Provides Perspective on School Security Design

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Daniel Engen, a firm principal and architect with more than two decades of school design experience, discussed school security design issues with the Pittsburgh Tribune Review and shared the concepts for the improvements being completed for the Carlynton School District.  Read More

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Team RV Takes 2014 Softball Title

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Team RV, the joint venture softball adventure from VEBH Architects and Radelet McCarthy Polletta, completed a perfect 17-0 season capturing their second straight Pittsburgh Architecture Softball Title.

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Washington Health System Opens Children’s Express Care

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Following the successful design and renovation of the former Emergency Department area,  Washington Hospital has opened Children’s Express Care.  The project was developed with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.   Read More

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Breaking Ground Highlights Waynesburg University Successes

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Breaking Ground, a publication of the Master Builders’ Association of Western Pennsylvania, features the work of VEBH and Volpatt Construction on the new and renovated buildings that have a part of Waynesburg University’s growth.

The campus was recently listed as one of the top 25 “Most Beautiful Christian College & University Campuses in the World.”

VEBH has worked with Waynesburg University for more than 25 years, designing ten new buildings for the campus along with numerous renovation projects.  Our most recent design is for the multi-phase renovation of Stewart Hall, the primary science facility on campus.

Click Here to view the Breaking Ground article

Link to Full Publication

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Pine-Richland High School Project Recognized

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The VEBH project to replace the pool dehumidification unit at Pine-Richland High School was presented with a 2013 Excellence in Construction Award of Excellence by the Associated Builders and Contractors, Western Pennsylvania Chapter. The project was recognized for the excellent planning by VEBH and Tower Engineering and execution by the project’s general contractor Weider Services.

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Stephen A. Kurpiewski, AIA, Receives Board Certificate from American College of Healthcare Architects

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VEBH Architects is pleased to announce that Stephen Kurpiewski, a firm principal, has earned his Board Certificate in healthcare architecture from The American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA).

Mr. Kurpiewski passed an accredited examination, which assesses the knowledge and understanding of architects who practice as healthcare specialists.  He joins the ranks of over 400 ACHA colleagues in the US and Canada who have received this important architectural credential.

Mr. Kurpiewski joined VEBH in 1984 and has nearly 30 years of experience designing healthcare facilities with the firm in and around the Pittsburgh area.  In 1996 he became a firm principal.

He has designed significant facility improvements and expansions for St. Clair Hospital, Washington Health System / Washington Hospital, the Heritage Valley Health System, and for various hospitals in the Allegheny Health Network, including Allegheny General Hospital, Canonsburg Hospital, Forbes Hospital and Allegheny Valley Hospital.  He is currently working with the West Virginia University Healthcare – Berkeley Medical Center on a four story expansion to the Hospital’s South Tower, which is nearing completion.

Mr. Kurpiewski designed Donnell House for Washington Health System, the region’s first freestanding residential hospice.

The American College of Healthcare Architects requires its certificate holders to work towards the improvement of healthcare architecture on behalf of the public, to practice in an ethical manner and to maintain the highest standards in the specialized field of healthcare architecture.

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Priorities Being Defined for Hampton High School

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With multiple options developed for improvements to Hampton High School, work has turned to narrowing the options.

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VEBH receives Rose Award from MVH

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Mon-Vale Resources, the parent company of Monongahela Valley Hospital, presented VEBH Architects with the 2014 Rose Award for Dimensions in Philanthropy.  The award recognizes VEBH’s support of the organization and the Hospital over the length of its working relationship, now in its third decade.

The Rose Award for Dimensions in Philanthropy was created to honor the late Mrs. Rose Sweeney Melenyzer, a longtime friend and benefactor to Mon-Vale Health Resources, Inc. It recognizes members of the Monongahela Valley community for their benevolence and dedication to the enhancement of quality health care.

VEBH Architects has served Monongahela Valley Hospital for more than 20 years, providing architectural design services for significant improvements to its facilities.  Most recently, VEBH designed the $25 million expansion of the Hospital’s surgery and cancer care facilities that was completed in 2011.  Our recent work also includes the design for expansion of the Hospital’s Melenyzer Pavilion and Emergency Department.

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International Educational Planners Recognize VEBH Project

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The Council of Educational Facilities Planners International (CEFPI) has recognized the Highland Middle School project designed by VEBH Architects for the Blackhawk School District as a 2014 “Project of Distinction”.

The project’s design team was commended for the manner in which it “responded to the vision of the community”, “infused sustainability” into the project, and created a school that “serves as a learning tool”.

The innovative design solution saved a building that had served the Blackhawk School District communities for more than half a century.  Educational-based themes of “Explorers”, “Inventors”, and “Pioneers”, developed with the school’s teaching staff, are represented by specific colors and patterns and define the 6th, 7th, and 8th  grade neighborhoods in the building.

The project’s lead architect and educational planner was Daniel Engen.  Mr. Engen joined VEBH in 2010 and is now a principal of the firm.  His prior planning and design efforts have included the new Moon Area High School and the Pine Richland School District’s acclaimed Eden Hall Upper Elementary School.

The award was presented at CEFPI’s annual Northeast Regional Conference.  CEFPI is a global advocacy and education organization whose mission is to promote the improvement of places where children learn.

Click here to learn more about the Highland Middle School project design.

Click here to learn more about CEFPI.

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Freedom Area Breaks Ground for New Elementary School

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The Freedom Area School District has broken ground for a new Elementary School.  The $11.6 million construction project will provide a state-of-the-art educational facility for the District’s youngest students and consolidate its school buildings onto a single campus, joining the District’s Senior High School and Middle School buildings.

The District’s Board of Education was joined by its Administration, Elementary and Middle School student representatives, and PTA and community leaders, to celebrate the start of construction on Tuesday evening.

“We want to thank so many people for helping us reach this day,” said Barbara Heyman, the President of the Freedom Area School District School Board.  “We have worked diligently for many years to get to this point in time.”

“Once we selected an architect, the School Board, Administration, Business Manager, Secretarial Staff, Professional Staff, Custodial and Cafeteria Staff all worked together with the firm and the community to help to make our new elementary building a state-of-the-art school.”

The new building will unify the District’s elementary education program into a single building.

”It is a significant step in continuing the forward movement that the District is making and will be a great asset for the entire community,” said Superintendent, Dr. Jeffrey Fuller.  “By bringing all of our students and staff together onto one campus, it provides us the opportunity to be incredibly flexible in how we provide educational programming to our students. Teachers at each grade level will have the opportunity to collaborate with their grade level peers because they will be separated by 30 feet, instead of being in separate schools at opposite ends of the District.”

The project is the result of a three year community master planning process that was led by VEBH Architects and explored educational and financial strategies to improve the District’s facilities.

The new Freedom Area Elementary School will have 17 full-size classrooms for Head Start, Kindergarten, First and Second grades and will accommodate up to 425 students.  The 59,000 square foot building will have a physical connection to the existing Middle School to create opportunities to share resources between the two buildings.  It will function independent of the Middle School and have its own secure entrance.  The District’s third and fourth grade students will move to classrooms within the current Middle School which was modestly modified over the past summer.

“The Freedom Area Elementary School was conceptualized as a place of comfort and excitement for young students, pre-K through second grade, where technology is integrated in every teaching space and classroom,” said Daniel Engen a principal of VEBH Architects, the project’s planner and lead architect.

A nature-oriented theme developed by the design team was a guide for the creation of a bright, colorful, inspiring learning environment for Freedom Area Elementary.   A “regional biosphere of a sunlit, forested pathway” created with color patterns, interior finishes, and natural light are carried from the public spaces and main corridors into the classrooms.

The theme is reinforced with a live tree growing in the school’s lobby.

Each classroom is designed to create a variety of instruction and activity zones that were defined with the District’s teaching staff.  The zones are created by furniture systems, colors and finishes to accommodate a 21st Century, technology-rich learning environment.

The new building will offer a variety of safety and energy efficient elements.  To secure the building’s main entrance, visitors to the school are directed through the building’s administrative offices during school hours.  Classroom neighborhoods are isolated from public spaces such as the gymnasium and cafeteria to create a secure zone for the students and to permit the public spaces to be used in an energy efficient manner after school hours.

The adjacency of the new Elementary School to the District’s Stadium offered opportunities to create a concession area, restrooms and storage space for the stadium within the new building.

The groundbreaking occurred on May 6 and construction is scheduled to be complete for the start of the 2015/16 school year.

The new building is being financed by the District without the need for a tax increase.

Freedom Area School District serves the Boroughs of Freedom and Conway and New Sewickley Township.  The District provides a quality education for just under 1,500 students.

The District started work with VEBH Architects in 2011 to examine their current buildings.  A series of community workshops identified options for improving the District’s facilities and ultimately defined the path for the consolidation.

VEBH Architects is located in the South Hills of Pittsburgh and has designed educational facilities for more than half a century.  VEBH’s design for the renewal of the Blackhawk School District’s Highland Middle School was recently recognized by the Council of Educational Facilities Planners International as a 2014 Project of Distinction.

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